So with the end of arguably the most exciting Premier League title race in history complete, Manchester City ran out Champions again but the question that appears to be asked now is whether the Premier League really is the pinnacle of World Football? With both European Competitions dominated by English Teams, some would believe that this is the answer to your question, however critics could say this is not always how the cookie crumbles.
Manchester City, the greatest team of the Premier League era, were tracked all the way until the final whistle by Liverpool, the greatest team to ever come 2nd (?) if there is a commendation for that. However, the gap to the rest and the quality of the competition may not have boosted the form claim in question. With Huddersfield Town ending on only 16 points – 3 wins, 7 draws and a -54 goal difference – Fulham managing to scrape 26 points and Cardiff battling hard but falling late on with 34 points.
Looking into Europe, the leagues are clearly dominated by 1 or 2 Teams everywhere. PSG 16 points clear and despite the endless piggy bank funding them, they still have no recent european success. Barcelona have taken advantage of an abysmal Real Madrid season have won the league at a cantar with Atletico 11 points adrift. Bayern Munich are stuttering to a possible marginal league title again over Borussia Dortmund. Juventus strolled to a 13 point margin lead over the rest in Serie A with Inter Milan in 3rd a whopping 23 points behind. So maybe we do have the best league in the world, right? Manchester United are the biggest club in World football, huge budget and finished 32 points behind the league leaders.
Sky Sports and BT Sports money is pumped into the Premier League. Hundreds of Millions in fact. Parachute payments for relegated teams are more than the budgets of most european clubs so I would hope that the quality of those bottom clubs would provide a better return on what we are currently getting?
The Premier League is often known to be the most exciting in the world where anyone can beat anyone on their day but this season seems to have been a strange affair. Teams would prefer ‘not to lose’ and especially when setting up away from home, it has turned into an Attack vs Defence at most stadiums in the country and hopefully hit them on the counter. Most bottom half teams are even adopting this strategy at home vs the ‘Big 6’. This philosophy may keep them in the league and ultimately depending on the ambition shown by the club and the manager then this may be enough however one example of success I have enjoyed this season would be Wolverhampton Wanderers. Yes they heavily invested but some of those signings have been a revelation. Playing attacking wing backs such as Doherty (a fantasy football favourite) and a midfield containing a bargain Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves feeding into Jimenez has caused ‘upsets’ by simply attacking the so called ‘Big 6’ and not giving the respect supposedly all big teams deserve.
An early 1-1 draw at Home to Man City in August set the tone for the season ahead. Followed up by a 1-1 draw away at Old Trafford and a 1-1 draw at The Emirates. A 2-1 home victory against Chelsea when coming from behind. First loss was at Home to Liverpool (the only team to not drop any points against Wolves this season but they did lose 2-1 in the FA Cup). Wolves beat Spurs away 3-1, lost 3-0 to City, Drew 1-1 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge undone by a 93rd Minute Hazard equaliser, 2-1 win against Man United and finally a 3-1 win at home to Arsenal.
Now ‘anybody can beat anybody’ is a typical cliche and the magic of the FA cup does show that but the table at the end of the season never lies. The finances of the Premier League allow all clubs to attract top talent from all over the world but ultimately the pinnacle of most players is to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona in front of the Camp Nou.
Could bottom half teams invest better and be able to play a brand of football that Wolves adopted and ultimately match the big boys of the Prem?
With the Champions League and Europa League finals contested by 4 Premier League teams, the standard of our top teams is clearly peaking in comparison to other leagues in Europe. England’s performance at the World Cup was very encouraging and we are definitely moving in the right direction but still not the best in terms of national teams. We can certainly look at our amazing academy’s and be proud of what we are now producing. Talent such as Jadon Sancho who has torn the Bundesliga apart but Premier League clubs have young english talent yet to play consistently enough which may be holding back their development. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Phil Foden, Dominic Solanke, Mason Mount, Reiss Nelson and so on.. all have the world at their feet but may not have the opportunities available to them.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has been voted the best right back in the world this week. Given a chance by Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and now in his 2nd Champions League final in 2 years as well as creating ‘that’ goal in front of the Kop to produce one of the greatest comebacks in football. English football has the potential to be the best National Team in the world to match arguably having the best club teams at the top of the league. Give the youth a chance and it will benefit both club and country.