So I know it’s pretty cliché to put together year end lists, but I thought I’d put some together. Please note these lists are completely subjective based on my ideas on how the game should be played, you are free to rip them all you like, personally I believe that what these lists are meant to do!
So without further ado I present my first ever top 5 year end list: Top 5 exciting club teams of the 2010 year!
Note: I have really only watched European and North American based clubs in 2010, I watched a bit of Brazilian league but not enough to form a proper opinion. Also note this list isn’t for the BEST team, but the most exciting/entertaining on the pitch!
5) Palermo (Serie A)
Out of all the teams currently playing in Europe who can say the line this club boasts is not one of the most interesting and exciting in Europe? This team has always been on the fore front of signing promising young talent on the cheap and building them up to their potential. 2010 was no different, as players like Simon Kjær, Fábio Simplício, Edinson Cavani, Abel Hernández, Josip Iličić and Javier Pastore made or began to make their name at the Sicilian club. Although the first three were sold during the summer they helped the club to a Europa League birth. During first half of the 2010-11 season Pastore has stepped up to become one of the most sought after talents in world football with his outstanding control a pinpoint passing, while Iličić has provided some amazing performances and goals in the same period. If Palermo can hang on to these players, the ladder only leads to the top spots in the Serie A.
4) Blackpool (Premier League)
Everyone likes to root for the underdog, and in 2010 there is no bigger underdog than the team from England south coast. The Seasiders are one of if not the smallest club to enter the top flight since the inception of the Premier League in 1992. Under the management of the charismatic Ian Holloway, the club took the Championship by storm in the early half of 2010, finishing in the final playoff spot in the race for promotion. Their improbable playoff run culminated in their trip to Wembley and a shock 3-2 win over Cardiff City in the playoff final to make it up. The thing that makes this club fun to watch is their attacking style of play, Holloway has not compromised this so far in the Premier League scoring a big win at Liverpool. The key man on the squad is Scottish international Charlie Adam who has been the teams’ play maker; however you have to look at the squad as a whole to really appreciate what they are doing. Blackpool struggled to sign players due to the lack of funds at the club, they played the first month of the season away from home as Bloomfield Road had to be renovated to accommodate PL standards and where picked by most pundits to finish dead last in the league….currently they are in pole position to spend another exciting season in the Premier League.
3) Lille (Ligue 1)
Les Dogues have slowly been building and bring up so exciting young talent in France that are now starting to show their worth. The attacking trio of Eden Hazard, Moussa Sow and Gervinho spearhead the northern French club who are sitting first in Ligue 1. I’ve mention Hazard on a few occasions on this blog as I believe he has what it takes to become a superstar in this game. Gervinho also has this ability and showed flashes of what he could do at this years’ World Cup. As for Sow, he’s finally getting his shot to be the number 9 on a game in game out basis. He’s repaid manager Rudi Gracia’s faith by currently leading France in goals with 14. The excitement for this team doesn’t just lay with the offence, playmaker Yohan Cabaye provided both the creativity and strong defensive covering a box to box midfielder requires. At the back the pairing of France International Adil Rami and Aurélian Chedjou has helped the club to one of the best defensive records in France.
2) Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League)
Dirty Harry has done it again, he’s taken a club who was bottom of the table when you found them and turned them in Champions League club who can beat Inter Milan at home. Though not the finished article yet, this side can on dazzling displays of attacking football which at times is sorely lacking in England. It’s been fun watching the development of Gareth Bale blossom into a top level player capable of jaw dropping performance like the ones against Inter in the Champions’ League group stages. He still has to show some consistency in his game but at 21 he’s only going to get better and grow as a footballer.
1) Barcelona (La Liga)
Champions of Spain….again. I know I haven’t shocked the world with my number 1 pick, but really who’s going to deny the greatness of this club? It’s not just Messi, or Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Puyol, Dani Alves, Valdes, Pedro, Bojan, Guardiola or the ball boy who can dribble better than anyone on the Toronto FC roster. It’s the philosophy of play and the willingness to stick to the principle no matter who you play. Barca try and play attractive football all the time, it is demanded from the top senior level, right down to the youngest youth player. When you watch this club play it feels like you’re watching an art form in motion, I know my words are romanticising the team but it really does. The argument has been raised about if this generation of Barca players are the greatest club team of all time? I’m not sure if that is a valid argument as you really can’t compare teams from different generations, but I’ve personally never seen a better club side, and this comes from a diehard Manchester United supporter who loves the 98/99 squad that won the treble. This is the best club side in the world…period.