The English Premier League, the World’s Greatest league, the Most Competitive League. These are the words generally used to describe the English Premier League, but over the past few seasons and specifically this one has made people wonder whether these reverberating adjectives really reflect the quality and standard of football in the Premier League.
Leicester City, the Champions of England were relegation strugglers last year and their story is nothing short of a fairytale, but their success can be attributed to two schools of thought; either they performed exceptionally and outplayed each and every team in the league, or the other so called ‘giants of the Premier League, songs of whose glories are sung across the world, are simply not good enough. I do not mean to belittle the achievements of Leicester or West Ham for the matter in this season, but even facts suggest that the Big Boys of English Football are not ‘big’ anymore.
The former Champions, Chelsea, are having their worst season in 19 years, they were outclassed in the Champions League by PSG and were knocked out of the FA Cup and the League Cup with a whimper. Whether it was player revolt or lack of motivation, the team which was pipped to win the Champions League by many in England last year, has not even finished high enough to qualify for a meagre Europa spot. Manchester United, the so called biggest club in the world is in line to miss Champions League Football for the second time in 3 years, even after splashing millions. The fact that the club manager looks at a probable FA cup as an achievement clearly establishes my point, from the highs in the mid 2000’s the EPL is at its low right now.
Talking about Arsenal makes no sense as they have the same story repeated across years, and the sense of ‘déjà vu’ has started to make fans believe that the ‘Matrix’ is real and we are all caught in it. Manchester City qualified for the first time in the Champions League semi-final and showcased its class or the lack of it across the two legs against Real Madrid, even after wasting hundreds of millions of euros on “talents” like Delph and Sterling. I am sure my grandmother who walks with a stick would have played better than Yaya Toure in Madrid.
If Liverpool’s Europa league victory is seen as a success of English football, then my hypothesis is clearly proven. While millions of dollars are getting into the league, with clubs getting richer each day, the type and quality of football makes us wonder; has the EPL’s standard risen or is it just the salaries & valuations of players with the ticket prices which are scaling new peaks each season?
It is great to have teams like Leicester and Tottenham playing in the Champions League but as we watch two Spanish teams playing in the Champions League and the CL trophy going to Spain once again, we need to question ourselves like Mr. Bean asks his doll, is the EPL really the best league in the world?