Ligue 2 16/17, Troyes v Le Havre AC. Coming into their meeting in Week 22, Troyes and Le Havre are two sides in the midst of awful spells of form. Troyes, the hosts, have slipped off the top of the table on a run of five games in which they have picked up just a single point - they have also suffered three consecutive defeats including a first loss at home since the opening weekend of the season. Le Havre, meanwhile, have also disappeared from the promotion places on a run of seven matches without a win. Their form has actually been worse at home than on the road, but the Normandy side are certainly stuck in a rut that has see them fall into the bottom half of the table. And yet they enjoy a better defensive record than their opponents and still remain in close proximity to the upper reaches of the table - indeed a first win in four away games at the Stade de l'Aube would see them close to within three points of Troyes once again.
Jupiler League 16/17, FC Eindhoven 4 Almere City FC 1. FC Eindhoven and Almere City focused on attacking as usual during the first 45 minutes in the Jan Louwers Stadium. It resulted in an entertaining display with chances for both teams to score. Sebastiaan de Wilde and Arsenio Valpoort both produced goals for their respective sides and with that the fans expected a similarly balanced second half. It all went horribly wrong for the visitors near the end of the first half when Paul Quasten blocked a shot on the goal line with his arm. The referee showed him the red card and with that dismissal Almere City's match was over. The hosts dominated the remaining part of the confrontation. They sealed the points by bagging three goals in the space of seventeen minutes as an ever more desperate Almere Ciy ran out of energy.
Serie A 15/16, Napoli. There is a common view in Italy that Napoli failed to win the 2015/2016 edition of the Scudetto due to a lack of depth. Whether that was the case or not, one thing is clear, coach Sarri barely rotated his team during the campaign. In fact, it can be clearly seen that he relied on the same players as much as he could with 11 of them being given starting places for at least 32 games. 65 goals came from those players with the outstanding Higuain and Insigne netting 48 times between them. By contrast only 12 goals came from the bench, thus highlighting the fact that they lacked real alternatives when games were reduced to a stalemate. Mertens, Gabbiadini, Lopez and El Kaddouri were consistently played, whilst match time was given to the others only when injuries or suspensions forced the coach’s hand. The overwhelming feeling was that they weren't credible substitutes and that strength in depth was a real problem, indeed 7 of these "bench players” were offloaded by the club in subsequent months.
Premier League 15/16. The 2015/2016 Premier League campaign saw pre-season relegation contenders Leicester City win what was the most remarkable edition of this competition ever. Players like Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez stole the headlines, but there is no doubt that midfield workhorse N’Golo Kante was crucial to the success that Leicester City enjoyed, both defensively and on the break. The steady hand and cool head of coach Ranieri was vital in terms of keeping the team on a level footing as the finish line approached. Just 3 defeats over the course of the season and 15 goals conceded over 38 games told the story of a team that made themselves very difficult to breakdown. In the end the win was a comfortable one as like other teams before them, the challenge from Tottenham Hotspur faded away. The Foxes finished a comfortable 10 points clear of the eventual second placed team, Arsenal to end a season the likes of which we will probably never see again.
Scottish Premiership 16/17. The 2016/17 Scottish Premiership campaign has been dominated by Celtic, who've been leaving opponents in their wake domestically. With Brendan Rodgers coming in to completely revitalise the Hoops, Celtic have been able to power past the challenge of Rangers and Aberdeen respectively. The addition of Moussa Dembele and the return to form of Stuart Armstrong, Tom Rogic, and Jozo Simunovic have helped build strong foundations in all areas of the pitch. But undoubtedly the star of the season has been Scott Sinclair. The winger has added a touch of class to the division, weaving past full-backs on a weekly basis and sitting at the top of the goalscoring charts. Sinclair's quick burst of pace and ability to turn defence into attack has been symbolic of the change in Celtic's style this season. No longer are the Parkhead side struggling to string passes together, and are instead looking deadly whenever they go forward. Sinclair has been the main cog in what is becoming a seriously impressive Celtic machine.