2015 was marked by the fall of some of the major football heavyweights in the world,It began with Chelsea, the former Premier League champion 2014/2015. The Blues had finally recovered the Premier League title after five years of its absence, with its distinctive and successful coach, José Mourinho.
Chelsea won the Premier League title with 87 points, eight points ahead of the second team, Manchester City. Chelsea won 26 games, recording a success rate of 68%, and only lost three games, which is 8%, while the rest were draws. Chelsea had the best front line in the Premier League, and second best offence worldwide, at the time.
But suddenly, it all went south. The beginning of this season was catastrophic. Many problems emerged between Mourinho and his players, followed by another one between him and the team’s former doctor, whom Mourinho insisted on firing.
Defeats rolled in, one after another in the local league, to the extent that Chelsea was pushed back to 15th place, with only 18 points over 17 rounds, three of which were scored after the Portuguese coach left. Mourinho was forced to resign from Chelsea after a humiliating season, having won only four games in the league and having lost nine games.
In the Italian Serie A, the same occurred with Juventus, which had won the league title the previous four seasons, most recently in the 2014-2015 season. Juventus even got as close as being the runner up in the Champions League during the previous season. But this year was different.
Juventus, remained at the bottom of the Serie A rankings throughout 11 rounds of the 17 held so far. The team was unable to break into the top 10 until the 12th round, rising from the 16th.
Things are starting to look up for Juventus, after winning seven games back-to-back, and collecting 21 points, jumping to fourth place with a total of 33 points, only two points behind the second place team, Fiorentina. Juventus will surprise everyone if it manages to win the title this season, as it started with two losses in a row and a draw.
Juventus lost only three games last season over 38 rounds, while this season, the team has lost four out of 17.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid, who has won the most Champions League titles (10 titles) and 32 Spanish league titles, continued to decline in 2015.The team failed to seize the title last season, and exited the King’s Cup Championship shamefully, due to an administrative mistake, in which Denis Cheryshev – who was suspended for receiving three yellow cards with his former team, Villarreal – was listed in Real’s game against Cádiz. The Royal Spanish Football Federation decided to eliminate Real Madrid afterwards.
Moreover, with the replacement of former coach Carlo Ancelotti with Rafael Benítez , the team’s performance was expected to take a turn downwards, especially with reports of the players’ disappointment with this move.
Though Real Madrid is currently in third place in the Spanish league with 33 points, two points behind both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, the team suffered three losses over 16 games, and took 33 points of 48 while exhibiting bad performances in games, and losing with a difference of four goals against Barcelona. These numbers indicate that the team may not be able to win the local title this year, for the fifth time in a row.
Internationally, the Royal team is faring well in the Champions League, having qualified for the round of 16 to face Italy’s Rome next February. But the numbers, here, too, do not support the fans’ dreams of winning the 11th Champions League title.
In England, Manchester United is also suffering, after once being the legendary team of English football. Manchester left the Champions League very early on, after coming third in the groups stage with only eight points.
Manchester United comes in fifth place in the Premier League standings, with 29 points, nine points behind the League’s first, Leicester City. Manchester United won eight games so far, lost four and drew in four others. The team has been unable to win any local games over the last six rounds. Chances seem slim for the team to win the Premiere League title.
Meanwhile, in the Arab world, specifically in Saudi Arabia, Al-Nassr, the team that won the last two seasons and also won the Crown Prince Cup for 2014, began the new season very weakly. Al-Nassr has played 12 games so far, but only won four of them, lost two, and finished six with a draw. The team currently stands in sixth place, with only 18 points; 12 points behind the leading team, Al Ahli. The possibility of retaining the title for the third consecutive time may be close to zero.
Domestically, the holder of local and international records, Egyptian Al-Ahly FC, also began 2015 very badly, after winning the Egyptian League for 2013/2014 and the title of the African Confederation Cup for the first time in the history of Egyptian football. Al-Ahly lost the African Super Cup, after having taken the title more times than any team in the history of the cup. Al-Ahly was also unable to keep the league title, handing it over to Al-Zamalek SC, which won the title for the first time in 10 years.
Al-Ahly left National African Champions League after losing both legs of the 16th Round. It also lost the Confederation Cup, after losing in both legs, and the semi-final against the South African Orlando Pirates. The team also failed to take any major titles this year, with the exception of winning the domestic Super Cup, pushing Al-Zamalek out, after it defeated Al-Ahly in the Egypt Cup final.
This year, the team lost two games in five rounds despite three games having been postponed due to Al-Ahly’s participation in the African cup, and the local tournament being halted for the national team’s training camps.
This marks a dire beginning for Al-Ahly that evokes last season with the Spanish coach Juan Carlos Garrido, only this time it was with the Portuguese José Peseiro. Al-Ahly has already changed coaches four times in less than two years.
It has also been a bad year for Al-Ahly on other levels, with the continuous technical and administrative changes, and the conflict between the members of its board of directors, as well as the general assembly. The team is also awaiting the court ruling concerning the legal status of the current administrative board.