The Premier League Asia Trophy is a tournament that, by all accounts, is viewed as a bit of a waste of time by a lot of fans. Still, even with that being the case, we tend to think that it’s a nice way of introducing more fans to the English Premier League product as they continue to try and grow the game in that part of the world.
We already saw two entertaining semi-finals take place, and now, as reported by Goal.com and Sports Mole, it looks like we’re in for one hell of a final as Wolverhampton Wanderers prepare to go head to head with reigning EPL champions Manchester City in Shanghai.
Wolves were able to come through a one-sided semi on their half of the draw, as they tore through Newcastle United with a ruthless and efficient 4-0 win. It served as a ‘paper over the cracks’ moment for a lot of Wolves fans, who tend to believe that the club needs to make some more gains in the summer transfer window.
Manchester City, on the other hand, also made light work of their opposition as they beat West Ham United 4-1 to book their place in the final. It was a ‘business as usual’ moment for the champions, who are looking to build off of their domestic treble success last season.
While the Community Shield is right around the corner, the primary focus for City is almost certainly going to be European glory next season – and we’d argue that’ll be even more important to them than retaining the Premier League title. Whether or not that causes them to be a bit distracted remains to be seen, but either way, if they have another campaign like they did last year, fans and pundits will have to recognise them as one of the greatest Premier League dynasties of all time.
Wolves, though, are only just beginning to build their way back up as one of the superpowers in English football. After many, many years of being dormant they are back in the game in a big way, with this season marking their first European campaign in 40 years.
Back at the top
It’s going to be tough for them to manage the increased expectations that have been placed onto their shoulders, but as long as Nuno is at the helm, we have a feeling that the fans aren’t going to be all too concerned.
The Portuguese boss is on the verge of taking Wolves back into a position where they’re spoken about as one of the top sides in England, which seemed unthinkable just a few short years ago.
City, on the other hand, are the kind of team that Wolves are attempting to emulate, with many pundits comparing the rise of the Wanderers to City’s from the last decade or so.
In terms of this game specifically, though, it really does feel like Wolves are going to give the champs a good game – but in the end, it probably isn’t going to be enough.