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The Lead

A cascade of first division clinched wins this weekend!

Well, two.

It’s easy to be cynical about Juve and Ajax earning their respective league wins in Italy and the Netherlands, seeing as they share 61 titles between them (no, not 63). But both Antonio Conte and Frank de Boer (the latter in particular) are no mere caretakers riding the crest of their clubs’ historical dominance.

In Conte’s case, it’s his second successive Scudetto, clinched with a 1-0 defeat of Palermo. The result reflected Juve’s strength’; while their 67 goals this season is among the lowest the big five European leagues and is tied with second place Napoli, they only conceded twenty goals. That’s only five more than Bayern conceded this season (which should underline how effing incredible Bayern have been). The likes of Chiellini and Bonucci have been integral in that defense, and certainly the presence of Pirlo, Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal in front of them hasn’t hurt either.

Ajax on the other hand faced an incredible challenge from PSV, Feyenoord and Vitesse almost to the very end of the Eredivisie. With a midfield steeped in Frank de Boer’s throwback Dutch principles, the veteran talent of 33-year-old Christian Poulsen complimented well the goal-scoring ability of Siem de Jong and the incredible season-long consistency of Christian Eriksen, whose talent, versatility and creativity will put his name in many a headline during this summer’s transfer grind.

For de Boer, it is an historic accomplishment. Three Ajax titles both as a player and a coach. Moreover, de Boer’s team can join Louis van Gaal and Rinus Michels with three consecutive wins, major company indeed.

Same old same old perhaps, but two champions very much of their time.

Links

Juan Mata’s shift to the left allowed Chelsea to set up crucial goal scoring opportunity, writes Michael Cox [the Guardian].

The Daily Mail with their take on the top ten signings of the season in the Premier League [Daily Mail].

PFA Scotland Player of the Year arrested mere hours after winning award for an incident in Glasgow nightclub [the Telegraph].

Mina Rzouki on how Juventus won their second straight title [ESPNFC].

Robbie Rogers says there’s “a really good chance” he’ll come back to MLS, but not Chicago [mlssoccer.com].

This video of David Luiz means whatever you want it to mean [Youtube].