|Taken from Newspaper.li|
It all comes down to this.
As the current English Premier League season is awaiting its final fixture to be played out this weekend, there will be a total of seventy-seven players representing seven clubs that will compete as if their lives are at stake.
Firstly and most importantly, the two clubs from Manchester – City and United. City currently leading the table hoping to win it’s third title while United aiming to win its 20th.
They would be followed by Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspurs and Newcastle United, all three of them having already qualified for a spot in Europe thanks to the dismal performance of Chelsea against Liverpool this week. Nerves will be high for the coveted third and fourth (qualifying) place of the Champions League.
And finally, a fight for survival in the top league between QPR and Bolton Wanderers.
So what would be the main elements for these teams this weekend?
Surely, working under pressure. When we speak of this, it would be normal to think in terms of targets to achieve under time constraints. Well, the context we would be looking at is a bit different.
One would only expect that these teams would come into this weekend highly absorbed, paying meticulous attention to planning and communication.
We would anticipate the respective managers to provide a sentimental speech like those given in movies like Remember the Titans, Coach Carter, or from a personal favorite that I would listen to quite often – from “Any Given Sunday”:
As the pressure shapes up, athletes and managers alike tend to become more risk reluctant. Teams thinking of the consequence of a “failure” would opt for a more defensive attitude.
How many times have we seen that in any given game? No matter, how big or small the team is, or how important or guileless the game is, teams tend to play defensive at this point of the season. Of course, all changes once the result is unfavorable during the game.
Secondly or in a more converse note, the word of the coming fixture would have to be “focus”.
To establish my point, I would like to take an excerpt from the late Apple prodigy – Steve Jobs autobiography centering on how he once advised Larry Page (founder of Google):
“The main thing I stressed was focus,” he (Steve Jobs) recalled. Figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up, he told Page. “It’s now all over the map. What are the five products you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest, because they’re dragging you down. They’re turning you into Microsoft. They’re causing you to turn out products that are adequate but not great.”
This advice basically led Page to turn his head towards the development of Google +. One can notice how well this product is working today.
Coming back to my point, this concept of focus is as important to this fixture in football as it would in a corporate setting. It is the act of directing all the happenings into accomplishing a desired objective.
For these seventy-seven footballers the very thought of how the other eleven or thirty-three are performing concurrently will keep them from chasing their ultimate goal. The goal being the EPL title, the Champions League spot or basically surviving to play another season in England’s top flight.
The idea here is not to lose focus at this stage. We had seen how John Terry performed against Liverpool recently. For a person who is usually a strong backbone of the team, his mistakes throughout the game basically cost Chelsea their shot at the Champions League. Have I chosen him as a scapegoat for Chelsea’s loss? You figure.
Nonetheless, I can confirm one thing for sure. This coming weekend will be one heck of a weekend not just for me, but also for quite a lot of fans.
Written by Shuaib Ahmed
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