PREMIER LEAGUE MOST COMPETITIVE FOOTBALL LEAGUE IN THE WORLD
December 5, 2020, by Rakesh Naik
The 2020-21 Premier League campaign began with Arsenal’s 3-0 victory away to newly-promoted Fulham.
In the Premier League, there are practically 6 top contenders to win the league.
In 2019, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal, and Chelsea. For the first time in history, all four clubs in the top Euro finals were from the EPL.
The 2020-21 Premier League season has been off to a flying start. The league is back with more top teams, managers, and players. The big story of the 2020 campaign is arguably Leeds United who stormed the 19-20 Championship season under manager Marcelo Bielsa and made their way up to the big time after an absence of 16 years. West Brom and Fulham were the other two sides who were back in the top flight at the expense of AFC Bournemouth, Watford, and Norwich City. All the sides made valuable additions to their squad but Chelsea had the best transfer window among all the clubs signing top players like Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Thiago Silva, and Kai Havertz to name a few.
The 2020-21 Premier League campaign began with Arsenal’s 3-0 victory away to newly-promoted Fulham. The first week of Premier League football provided a lot of exciting and high scoring football matches but the best of them all came in the match between Liverpool and Leeds United with the match ending 4-3 in favor of the Champions with star player Mohamed Salah scoring a wonderful Hattrick to top off a wonderful performance.
In the second match week, Liverpool went on to win 2-0 away at Chelsea marking off an impressive start to their title defense. Leicester and Everton ended the week in first and second place respectively when it comes to the title race and European spots, Leicester and Everton are certainly the underdogs but Ancelotti’s toffees and Brendan Rodgers’s Foxes have made a wonderful start to the campaign after signing some quality talent to bolster their squad, James Rodríguez is one of the top tier players Everton signed during the transfer window elevating their status from being a mid-table side to a team which can easily challenge for the top 4 and the European spots. Leicester City on the other hand having lost Ben Chilwell to Chelsea signed Timothy Castagne and a few other high-profile names to make sure they are right up there with the best and compete for the crown. Other clubs like Aston Villa, Newcastle United, and Brighton also made good starts to the season and have shown a very attacking intent.
There are few factors that set the Premier League apart from other top leagues like La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A, and the Bundesliga and make it the best. In all of Europe’s, or the world’s top leagues, even, there would normally be two or three teams that’d be in contention to win the league. Real Madrid and Barcelona, in Spain, Paris Saint-Germain, in France, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, in Germany, and Juventus, in Italy, usually have high chances of winning their respective leagues. But, in the Premier League, there are practically 6 top contenders, with surprises being thrown up every now and then. Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Tottenham are considered the big fish, while teams like Everton and Leicester City have also held their own in the past. Leicester City, under Claudio Ranieri, would emerge as winners in the 2015/16 season, but, this only shows the intensity, passion, and competitiveness of the league.
Some of the world’s best players, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Gareth Bale, Neymar, and Arjen Robben, do not play in the Premier League. Real Madrid and Barcelona have quality sides and have some of the best players, and so do PSG and Bayern Munich. However, in the Premier League, the disparity between the topsides and the other sides is minimal in comparison to the other leagues. In the Premier League, we have seen Manchester United lose to Huddersfield, we’ve witnessed Chelsea succumb at the hands of West Ham, and other shocking results as well. On their day, the 20th-placed side also carries enough potential to beat the 1st-placed one. In the 2019-20 season, Liverpool was deservedly the runaway winners of the Premier League title, winning the league with 99 points 18 points above second-placed Manchester City.
However, in the present 2020-21 season, the league looks to be more competitive than any other league season before. The mid-table clubs have reinforced their squads with signings in their bid to fight for the Europa League spots. While teams like Chelsea and Manchester City have invested heavily in signings in order to fight for the title and close the gap on Liverpool. Even the dark horses and the relegation favorites have not stopped themselves from getting better players and improving their chances of staying in the premier division in English football. Competition in every front is needed in order to make a league successful as well as enjoyable to watch for the fans. With all the new players bought into the squads, this season is expected to be the most competitive Premier League season since its inception.
The inclusion of Leeds United, a historic club brings with it the prospect of more derby matches which always hold a lot of history and prestige. Clubs like Arsenal and Wolves will have renewed ambitions about qualifying for the UEFA Champions League after making a statement to their respective Premier League campaign. Champions Liverpool have themselves made two new acquisitions in the form of world-class midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich and winger Diogo Jota from Wolves. Liverpool were the favorites for the 19-20 season and it is no surprise that they are once again the favorites for the 20-21 season as well as Jurgen Klopp looks to guide the Reds to another successful season. Bitter rivals Manchester United also look to build upon their impressive third-place finish in the 2019-20 season but the lack of transfer activity might end up being a disadvantage for the Red Devils. The season also has a prospect of a tight relegation race which is completely unpredictable with all the bottom half teams making valuable additions to their side as they aim to avoid the drop.
First Time Ever: Four EPL Teams Meet in European Cup Finals
2019, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal, and Chelsea. For the first time in history, all four clubs in the top Euro finals were from the EPL. The plain truth is that the semi-final result proved that the EPL is far stronger than the other Euro leagues at this time.
The Best of the EPL: Liverpool and Spurs 2019 Champions League Final
Liverpool 4 Barcelona 0
An incredible atmosphere inside Anfield helped power Liverpool to a famous European victory in the semi-final of the Champions League. They thrashed the best team in the world, Messi et al, and made history with one of the greatest comebacks of all time. Some think it better than the Miracle of Istanbul in 2005. Not quite. Let’s not forget Tottenham Hotspur, also 3 goals down against a youthful and lively Ajax. Spurs scored the winner in the last minute.
REASONS WHY PREMIER LEAGUE IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER LEAGUES
1. The Players in the EPL
Are the best players in the world playing in the English Premier League? The answer is actually no. Let’s admit something from the outset—the elite top 2 players in the world are currently plying their trade in Spain and Italy. That’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Let’s throw Luis Suarez into the mix too. You may have different names in your head, the Brazilian Neymar for example, but the plain fact is the top 2 best exponents of the beautiful game are not playing in England. However, it’s not always wise to measure excellence individually. Football is a team game. Add up the total numbers of quality internationals in the top ten teams in all the leagues and who has the most strength in depth? Undoubtedly it’s the EPL. What does that mean in terms of pure football? If you’re a regular spectator at EPL league matches the chances are you’ll be watching top internationals week in and week out, not just when the elite teams turn up. This makes a huge difference to the overall quality of play and gives the premier league the edge over other world leagues.
How do you know the EPL has more quality players regularly competing than any other league in the world? Well, just look at the percentages of players turning out for their countries in top football tournaments like Euro 2012 and the World Cup 2014.
In Euro 2012, the EPL supplied 74 players, almost 20% of the total number, whilst the Bundesliga came second with 48 players, La Liga with 32, and Serie A with 31.
You’ll find similar figures for the World Cup tournament as well. The English Premier League is way ahead of the others when it comes to supplying the creme de la creme for major competitions.
3. The Stadium
In the premiership, you don’t have to travel far to encounter first-class stadia. They feature exceptional seating, viewing, and facilities. In addition, you have impeccable playing fields to play football on throughout the season. The top ten clubs in the EPL all have exceptional home grounds—from the traditional rectangular favorites like Old Trafford and Anfield to the modern fields like the Emirates where Arsenal ply their trade. Even the so-called smaller clubs have well-designed stadia, often built to high standards.
- TV Coverage
When the BBC first broadcast football back in 1965 the coverage was in fuzzy black and white and only a handful of viewers tuned in for the highlights of Match of the Day. If I recall accurately this was a match between Liverpool and Everton and the highlight was of a dog running onto the pitch and stopping play! Even at that time, a few million were tuned in, even if the goals were a bit of a blur and there was no true action replay! Fast forward 35-40 years and the EPL is now watched by over 600 million people in roughly 200 countries, a staggering number. Matches are broadcast live and eagerly anticipated. The income from the overseas broadcast rights is enormous but what’s special about the premier league is that they are distributed collectively amongst the 20 clubs. In other European leagues, with the exception of the Bundesliga, the money tends to go to the individual clubs with the most coverage. So the English league is the most-watched sports show on any continent at any one time during the season. The reason? Because it has depth and quality and excitement unrivaled within the football world.
Goal Line Technology
All EPL teams now have a camera on the goal line to help the referee decide whether or not the ball has crossed the line. In the past officials had to rely on their eyes alone to give or rule out a goal. Now the camera tells them instantly. Goal or not! One more reason to love the Premier League.
5. The History
It’s an inescapable fact that the English invented the modern game of football and exported their invention worldwide. Many firsts have been achieved in the English game and the EPL is carrying on the traditions of the past. Little did they know that the simple game would turn into a beautiful game and ignite imaginations all over the globe! If only the English FA had put a patent on the football, the goals, the pitch, and the rules!
Playing in the EPL is therefore historic because the players are participating in the world’s greatest sport in its native England where, it could be said, the game is most appreciated.
6. Competition in the EPL
Look at the top six clubs in any league in Europe and ask yourself—have all six got a chance to win the league? Only in the EPL is there such hot competition: Manchester City, Manchester Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur. The answer has to be that at least four have a good chance and two are strong dark horse contenders. You wouldn’t have this level of top competition anywhere other than the EPL. In Spain, for example, it’s inevitably the two elite clubs who end up fighting for the title. Barca v Real. In Italy you’ll have three usually, in Germany it’s often two, recently only one, and in France, you will sometimes have three. Should we look at the Netherlands? It used to be three top clubs vying to be champions but now that’s reduced to two.
Only England has four top clubs challenging for the title on a regular basis. There’s nowhere else in the world that happens season to season. And now that Leicester City have won the EPL, there is no knowing what other shocks and surprises lay in wait.
7. Goals and the EPL
The EPL does not have the highest goals to game ratio in Europe; that honor goes to the Eredivisie in the Netherlands who often manage over 3 goals per game. But what does that say about a league where goals come so cheaply? That’s right, the quality of the defenders is in doubt! In the Dutch league, there are many large and clumsy defenders who, it has to be said, aren’t the best when it comes to close marking and making saves!
In the English league, the exact opposite is experienced. You still have large and clumsy defenders playing but they tend to be mean in the tackle and don’t give strikers much space. Even the smaller clubs know how to battle it out which suggests that every goal has to be worked for. There aren’t that many cheap goals—strikers have to earn the right to score!
El Clasico in Spain, Barcelona v Real Madrid, creates enormous interest worldwide and rightly so. It’s the biggest club game on the planet. The Camp Nou regularly has 99,000 plus spectators for this encounter. The EPL can’t match that. But, Manchester United’s Old Trafford holds 75,000, Arsenal’s Emirates 60,000, and Liverpool’s Anfield 54,000. Newcastle Utd’s St James’s Park holds over 52,000 supporters. All are full every other week of the season and generate amazing energy. In Germany, the Bundesliga has the highest average attendance with clubs like Bayern Munich, Schalke 04, VIB Stuttgart, Hertha Berlin, Hamburg, and Borussia Monchengladbach all regularly attracting crowds of over 50,000. This is due to their lower overall prices. Where the EPL scores high is on pure atmosphere and tension. The anticipation, energy, and color created by knowledgeable fans are second to none. At clubs like Leicester, West Ham Utd, Spurs new stadium, and Newcastle United, the noise created by the home fans when their team is winning is beyond belief!
In short, it’s not the quantity but rather the quality that counts.
In the 2020-21 season, the focus as always will be on the Champions Liverpool and Manchester City as the new season progresses. However, the spotlight will also be on free-spending Chelsea and Manchester United who look to close in the gap with the top 2. There is immense competition for points and places all across the table the competition will be higher than ever the expectations will be high but whatever happens during the season, the 2020 -21 Premier League season has all prospects of being a memorable season.