This Is The Worst Premier League I’ve Ever Seen
My job as a sports broadcaster is to try to give insight into what players do on the pitch and why, to give honesty without favour on analysis of every team I watch during the season and as we approach the end of the season to sometimes tell the truths that others invested in the success of the league can’t or won’t.
The Truth About The Premier League
I’ve watched every Premier League team, in the flesh, multiple times. Over 50 games so far.
In this column I’m going to take away any narrative that deals in fairytales, miracles, selling the product that is the Premier League abroad or buying into stories that you may hear on the radio or see put to you on television..
So here goes…
This Premier League season in terms of individual and team quality is possibly the worst I’ve ever seen. And that is my truth.
It matters, because English football doesn’t live in its own bubble, away from the European mainland. It is a part of a group of leagues, which, if we are not careful will leave us with an incredibly watched circus or soap opera, but can not by any measure lay claim to be the best in Europe, and that greatly bothers me.
But why Stan? Isn’t it great that Leicester, Spurs, Saints, West Ham, Bournemouth and Watford have all shared the spotlight which for 25 years has been the preserve of Man United, Arsenal and co?
Yes, but only if we can look ourselves in the mirror and say the clubs that have done well, and indeed those who should have done better can lay claim to being the best in the business or remotely make that argument.
Manchester City, with the world’s biggest wage bill for a football team, are beaten only by the worst Premier League team I’ve seen in the flesh, Aston Villa, when it comes to taking points off the Premier League top ten this season.
This includes a team who were bottom for most of last season, a team who haven’t been anywhere near winning the title since 1961, and in Arsenal, a club side whereby 4th is the new first.
Does that worry you from a pan European perspective? It should. Read on.
Trouble In England
Leicester City (who I would like to see win the league as an ex player) have gone from bottom to top in a year. This incredible statistic alone should tell you that there is something not right. That’s correct, not right..rather than a reason for extolling the virtues of the league.
They weren’t 6th, 7th or 10th the season before, they were rock bottom with virtually the same squad. For us little Englanders more than willing to slaughter La Liga as a two team league (I’ve done it myself), this would mean Levante topping La Liga having been bottom the season before, and us in our little island suggesting with a straight face that this proves La Liga is ‘exciting, wondrous, magical, miraculous”.
Or just poor.
The common consensus amongst Spurs fans is that the team Poch was building this season would be a team to compete in maybe 2 or 3 year’s time; young, naive in some aspects, talented yes, but taught a footballing lesson over two Dortmund games.
What does it mean that essentially a development side or a team who were bottom could win this league without really having a glove landed on them?
1. It means we are miles behind in Europe.
2. It means the big clubs haven’t just recruited poorly, they’ve been a disgrace when it comes to spending their supporters hard earned.
3. It means Arsenal, if they don’t win it this season, have failed in their 10 year odyssey to bring tiki taka to the Premier League. Leicester’s simple but effective hard work if they win it will prove that hard work and discipline in these Islands will always trump the Barca fantasy in England.
4. It means that Man United, our global juggernaut, will be giving serious thought to keeping a manager who’s wasted £250 million, yet relies on a couple of rookies to move his “philosophy” forward.
5. It means that the current bottom 3, who have more top league titles than the current top 3 are short changing their fans almost on a daily basis, season in, season out.
And it means that YOU, the season ticket holder, the television subscriber, are more likely to be paying ever increasing prices not to see Messi, Bale, Ronaldo, Zlatan or Muller, but continue to pay the highest ticket prices and TV subs in the hope that a Mahrez comes good, a Kane gets us English believing we are producing top drawer strikers again, and that it doesn’t matter if we compete in Europe as long as our little old league makes us wow.
Too Many Questions
How many GREAT games have you seen in the Prem this season? Not good, not very good, great?
Why are Manchester City closer to Swansea (15th) in the league than Leicester at the top?
Why is the best player in the league a £400k signing that nobody heard of and realistically would get nowhere near a top 5 league 11?
I’m not being harsh, I’m not being unkind, I’m just very worried that we are turning our league into some sort of experiment
…in reckless spending, reckless ownership, reckless planning rather than building a league where a Leicester or Spurs win could almost guarantee either side getting to a European Quarter Final or God forbid a tournament win rather than potentially looking through our fingers if either are paired with a top 5 ranked side next season.
They say the Leicester miracle is greater than the Forest one of 1979. Both great East Midlands clubs could be top level title winners but there’s one major difference.
That Forest team has English national team record breakers, all time top level greats, multiple European and domestic winners and their miracle was underpinned by great on the deck football and back-to-back European Cup wins.
It’s in that environment of continental success (along with 7 English wins in 8 years) that Forest’s achievement can truly be regarded as a miracle. A side from nowhere which proved the league it played in, the signings that were made, were the best on the continent.
Stats Speaks For Themselves
Go and look at the statistics for the “bigger clubs” this season. They make truly depressing reading if you buy into my theory that a healthy English top level is underpinned by its status in Europe.
Chelsea, our title winners from last season may not get into the top 10.
Everton, our longest serving top flight club, with its best crop of talent since 1985 could be bottom half of the table.
Southampton, the club which many thought would be the progressive team to get top 4 have massively flattered to deceive this season.
And Arsenal, good old Arsenal, for a tenth season in a row prove that whether its a vintage Man United or a developing Spurs from down the road, they are the masters of competing when it doesn’t really matter.
Does this worry you? It should, because the joy and excitement of the Foxes’ “miracle” or the youthful Spurs revolution in reality proves one thing and one thing only.
The Premier League, for all of the money, for all of the hype, for all of the sponsors, for all of the global support is the worst in quality it has ever been, and that worries me, with SEVEN Spanish teams in the latter stages of European tournaments, that we are the Emperor’s New Clothes of Europe.