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The State Of The premier League


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Alot has been said of the state of the premier league this season especially after our teams struggled with the champ lge groups for the first time in a long time and im curious to know your opinion.

My view is that its alot more complicated then just sayin '' its a weak league '' or ''Any of the man utd or chelsea sides 4 or 5 yrs ago would have won this league easy '' etc. I do however agree with the latter but mourinho and cristiano ronaldo were both big factors in that opinion and they dont come along every season. Its strange that man city are 17 points ahead of 8th place stoke and 19 ahead of villa as i dont believe man city are nearly as good as people make out. Man utd are 2 points off and its there worst team for a long time. The reason i dont neccesarly see it as weak is due to the fact that i cant remember seeing the prem with as many out n out stars for a long time, mata, silva, balotelli, ageuro, modric, van persie, rooney, suarez, vdv, nani, bale then theres the youngsters who look class like sturridge, romeu, jones, wilshere, hernandez etc.

I suppose we can only talk properly about our own clubs as we obviously have a better knowledge/interst in them and 2 of my closest friends are everton and villa season ticket holders and there both telling me its there worst team in years. No craft, no real quality, basically very boring minded average teams. The only reason they wont go down is due to the fact that theres others worse off and they will probably finish there normal respective positions. The reason i use these teams as an example not only because i hear alot about them is because there the next level teams from the top 4/5/6

I think a large factor in the leagues nxt step clubs real lack of quality is the lack of options these teams now have. With money drying or dried up at these clubs but still both big teams in there own right they can now only attract the best of the average plyrs which tend to be your grafting type players. A few years ago these clubs could dip into other areas, players who were past there best but still had alot of quality or young very impressive plyrs from clubs around, ie. villa would sign good youngsters like downing, ash young, milner, barry etc and plyrs who had alot of talent but slightly past it like laursen, merson, carbone. Alot of lower prem teams would add these type of plyrs to improve there teams and you would nearly always have someone to watch at every club. Compare that now to the teams underneath the top 6? Youl do well to think of 3 players who you would consider to have uncoachable talent.

The problems they face is that when a player hits 30 plus and starts to feel it a little or loses the full motivation required to be a top player there are so many cash rich clubs across the world now that they must be mad to turn it down. Weve just seen what anelkas moved for and what i believe drogba, alex and malouda will do, You cant blame them and it wont massively effect us but the clubs below in my opinion are the ones that are suffering. What great signings they would be for a villa or everton, 5 years ago possible but not now. If you were an everton and villa fan both teams of similar style who need a bit of creativity youd be saying, how bout maybe malouda, rosicky, arshavin or many other plyrs around europe who are no longer top standard players but on there day can change a game. But they are simply unsignable now, they will have offers from malaga, psg, russia, china, qatar or uae.

To summarise my opinion, its beginning to piss me off reading about how bad the prem league is, this isnt a premier league issue its a world issue. Bar us, man city, man utd, barca, real madrid, psg and now malaga maybe milan, no one else in europe can compete for top players, that sort of scenario has always been the case as top players want top clubs/wages, but then u look at promising kids not quite ready or ageing stars. Thats when all the other clubs in the prem, la liga, bundesliga, serie a, got interested and the bidding began. Thats whats been ruined and thats why entertaining football is few and far between. Why sign for a club youve dropped wages and standard for when u can be the star of russia or the like and earn 400 grand a week. The gaps are margining all over europe and i feel for football as its made other teams have to rely on shutting up shop and hoping for the best as the quality players all over the world are off to earn a fortune in a desert.

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The Premier League is overrated by the people who cover it. The Premier League hype we are force-fed is fed to us by those who make money from the league. Sky hype it up a head spinning amount because the Premier League is Sky's premier brand and the main reason people get Sky Sports installed in the first place, it is their great money spinner so of course they will vehemently claim that it is the best league in the world. The newspapers and tv shows (with it's ex Premier League pundits) will also claim it to be the best league in the world because their papers are sold on the back of Premier League coverage and stories and the tv shows are based around the Premier League. Then amongst some there is just the plain bias of English people supporting the English league.

In reality it isn't the best league in the world. It isn't the most competitive league in the world. It doesn't have the best players or the best teams in the world. It doesn't have the best brand of football in the world. There are many leagues more competitive than the Premier League (over the last 10 years that includes La Liga), the best players in the world play in Spain, the two best teams in the world are Spanish and arguably the third best team in the world are German and the football in Spain throughout the league is far better from a technical point of view than it is in England.

That isn't to say the Premier League doesn't have its positives. It is a very fast paced, physical style of football that a lot of us in England and Britain can relate to because that is the kind of football we ourselves were taught as young kids. Some people might find that having no outstanding team in the league creates a more exciting title race and some very talented players do ply their trade in England.

For a while the Premier League was the best league in the world, at one point in time Chelsea and Man Utd were the two best teams in the world but times have changed, La Liga and Spanish football in general has grown stronger and it still has a lot of room to grow (Malaga's growth and the almost inevitability of smaller Spanish sides getting more TV money in the future). Of course I enjoy watching the Premier League and I support Chelsea but those claiming that this is "the best Premier League season ever" are lying through their teeth, either through greed for more money, an extreme level of bias or simply pure stupidity.

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i agree with alot of what you say and of course alot is open to opinion. This season is the first i can remember teams struggling in cl. Normally we see us all gettin to quarters, quite a few times 2 in semis and in others weve knocked each other out in quarters. Fulham got to europa final 2 years ago beating juventus, hamburger, wolfsburg and shaktar. All those over 2 legs so that indicates that our smaller teams are still useful. I do also understand that a cup comp doesnt necessarily reflect the respective leagues and other leagues have definately improved.

Its my opinion however that despite la liga being technically better than our league it hasnt been know where near as exciting to watch and i think the viewing figures and attendances all over the world would back up that opinion. I know germany have very high attendances but i also know you can watch most games there for a tenner. Charge 4x the amount and they wouldnt be up there i dont think.

I play football and borderline obsessed with watching it and studying at tactics, love the way spain and barca play, admire it and am in awe as a purist and respecting there ability. But personally when i watch la liga games find them pretty dull. The problem with watching possesion football is that seein xavi passing to pique 50 odd times a game isnt that exciting. I appreciate just how hard it is to do what they do and i know it destroys teams but it gets boring. I prefer to watch a good old scrap in the middle, last ditch defending and a game seperated by a quality strike or bit of vision.

My original post was that im getting a bit depressed with a lack of players who can make a difference throughout the league and i just highlighted my reason why i think its happening.

What barca are doing for football is great because i suppose all countrys/teams look at whats succesful and try and emulate it and if we can bring thru more players who try and rely on there touch and vision instead of strength and power it can only be good. But i dont want our game to change that much.

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Man City in a way are pretty lucky, they have got it easy. Man United are a poor team in my opinion, they have Luis Nani who only shows signs of world class when he's on form, besides that he does nothing. Valencia is good but inconsistent and can be very one dimensional. Ashley Young, not great but he can add something to the game. Rooney is world class, but he can go out of form a lot, Hernandez is shite if he doesn't get assistance. And there midfield is worrying, Anderson has had huge pressure on him this season, but he has done nothing, United desperately need a centre mid, they can no longer rotate with Giggs and Scholes, Giggs can't play every game, and Scholes has now gone, they lack that creative spark like we do in midfield. As for holding midfielder Darren Fletcher and Carrick are a good selection i guess. Defence wise they have injury problems but there not to bad in there, however a replacement for Ferdinand is a must.

And this is a team what's meant to be 2nd best in the league, which is pretty poor. Man City have no challenge and i'm serious, it's only a matter of, some team obviously has to be 2nd. And then you've got us, who are in need of desperate overhaul, Arsenal who are still a poor team, who are winning games from a spark of form. And Liverpool who have a lot of average players in there squad, and usually only win games from motiviation rather than skill. Spurs are a good team, but i don't think they can cope with a title of being one of the best, i just can't see them doing it, i think they will finish top 4, but they wont challenge City. And these are our top teams, pretty shit to be fair.

I think there is good mid table teams, Newcastle, brilliant team, missing Tiote. Fulham, they have a great team, danny murphy is a huge blow for them but they are lacking some spark. QPR, again another great team, but there defence is pretty shocking and could do with a better finisher up front. Stoke, look like there regaining form, but they wont be as dominant as the last 6 months of last season, unless they crash out of europa early.

But still, i think now days in the premier league the big teams are lacking too much qualites and such, and are still building strength. Man City have it on a plate for them, they are a good team already build and with no problems.

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I agree with The Big Drog. It's not the most competitive league in the world, as it's so been hyped. The only reason it's the most viewed is because of the extensive marketing Sky has done with this league to ensure it's in people's minds. The branding was very clever in this sense.

In a way, we must thank City. Before their £1bn investment, stars were leaving this country's league left, right and centre. We'd stopped making big name signings and clubs started selling starts, rather than buying. Henry, Beckham, Robben, Ronaldo, Owen etc all started leaving.

City have brought world-class players like Aguero, Silva, Touré (even though he's a cunt) etc. This in turn inspired us to sign brilliant players like Mata & bring in future gems like Romeu.

One could argue, the stars leaving, has meant clubs are using their academies. Well the English talent coming through is horrendous. Spain & Germany proved they can have a brilliant league, with big funding, while still producing national stars from their academy. Manchester United's academy is declining, Arsenal are seeking their youngsters from afar too now.

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Barcelona started producing stars from their own academy and so should English clubs.

I don't disagree though. The Primera Division has only two good teams and in this period those are the best in the world. The rest is just bad (except for Valencia). The reason why the Primera Division is because players from Real Madrid and Barcelona can excel easy because the opposition's defense is just crap. Ronaldo performed great for one season, but the following season, English defenders knew how to stop him and he was a lot less dangerous. Then he made the move to Real Madrid and he could easily excel there and after two years they still haven't found a way to stop him. In the Primera Division they give Ronaldo a lot of space and players like Özil exploit these spaces brilliantly.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are getting loads of money from TV rights and the gap between them and the rest is getting bigger and bigger.

The EPL ís very competitive and right now we have 6 teams battling for the top 4 spots. It is the biggest competition and in my opinion also the best.

With the new EPPP, English clubs will be able to produce wordclass players in the next decades.

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Barcelona started producing stars from their own academy and so should English clubs.

I don't disagree though. The Primera Division has only two good teams and in this period those are the best in the world. The rest is just bad (except for Valencia). The reason why the Primera Division is because players from Real Madrid and Barcelona can excel easy because the opposition's defense is just crap. Ronaldo performed great for one season, but the following season, English defenders knew how to stop him and he was a lot less dangerous. Then he made the move to Real Madrid and he could easily excel there and after two years they still haven't found a way to stop him. In the Primera Division they give Ronaldo a lot of space and players like Özil exploit these spaces brilliantly.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are getting loads of money from TV rights and the gap between them and the rest is getting bigger and bigger.

The EPL ís very competitive and right now we have 6 teams battling for the top 4 spots. It is the biggest competition and in my opinion also the best.

With the new EPPP, English clubs will be able to produce wordclass players in the next decades.

Ronaldo scored freely in England in his last 2 seasons in the league so that does disparage the myth that defending in La Liga is way poorer than in the Premier League, I watch a considerable amount of both leagues and there isn't a huge gulf in difference between the quality of defending in both leagues. In England, most teams have giant, generic English style centre backs to deal with the physicality of the Premier League, in Spain they tend to have more technical defenders to deal with the more technical style encountered regularly in La Liga.

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Ronaldo scored freely in England in his last 2 seasons in the league so that does disparage the myth that defending in La Liga is way poorer than in the Premier League, I watch a considerable amount of both leagues and there isn't a huge gulf in difference between the quality of defending in both leagues. In England, most teams have giant, generic English style centre backs to deal with the physicality of the Premier League, in Spain they tend to have more technical defenders to deal with the more technical style encountered regularly in La Liga.

Ronaldo scored around 15 goals in his last season? Anelka even scored more and he became topscorer of Epl. So I wouldn't say he scored freely. I have also watched several weaker teams of the Primera Division and the oppostition's attackers have a lot more space. The defenders in Primera Division are more naive and, yes, more technical. But where phsycality combined with a good tactic can stop the best teams in the league. Technique obviousbly doesn't. When you have a more technical approach of defending, you will always lose to a squad with better players. Hercules won at Camp Nou last year, because they played with 10 defenders and scored from counters. In Spain there are hardly any suprising wins, because the best team always wins.

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The traditional premier league top four (us, manure, bindippers and arsenal) are ridiculously weak now in comparison to previous years. Had any of our teams on par with those from previous years, I seriously doubt that city would be title contenders right now. We have been left behind by Barca and Madrid, and Bayern Munich too. But league-wise, it's one of the more entertaining in my opinion due to it's "tightness".

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A very interesting article from The Guardian.

It's the most competitive league in the world. Anybody can beat anybody on their day. There are no easy games in this league. The mantra of thePremier League apologists is well known. Every time a team from the Little Fourteen (as nobody ever calls them) plays a team from the Big Three (it is just three now, right?) the cliches come trotting along: in our league nobody gives anybody anything, everything's a glorious struggle.

It's nonsense, of course: it's obvious the Premier League is a closed shop that can be opened only with the application of around a quarter of a billion pounds. In England in the past decade there have been three different champions. That's the same as Spain, Italy and Portugal, poorer than France (four), and Germany and Russia (five). But then in the past decade there have been Champions League winners from England, Spain, Italy and Portugal, and not from France, Germany or Russia. It seems fairly obvious that competitiveness is something that must be balanced against quality: would fans prefer an exciting domestic league, or for teams from that league to do well in continental competition?

That's not to say that a low number of different champions is necessarily a sign of strength or high quality. In Croatia, Dinamo Zagreb have won the league for the past six seasons and made next to no impression in Europe. The problem, Igor Biscan said, is that their players get used to winning easily; come a tough match, a game against a side of even slightly lesser ability, in which they have to do things that don't come naturally, like defending, they have no idea what to do. "Our players walk through games against villages so they forget how to run," as a Crvena Zvezda director put it to me a couple of years ago. "But what are we meant to do? Buy players for the other teams in the league as well?"

Rangers and Celtic have perhaps suffered from that at times in Europe, which may mean that the domination of European football by Barcelona and Real Madrid many have predicted is not quite so sustainable as many think. That in turn is something to consider for those who would tweak the balance of competition in the Premier League by doing away with collective bargaining for TV rights (quite apart from asking whether the product will remain so appealing if games are hideously one-sided). That answer to the Zvezda official's question, in fact, may end up being "yes", if only indirectly.

If you want a true range of champions, you need to leave Europe. There have been six different champions in Japan in the past decade, seven in Brazil. In Argentina, where the apertura-clausura system means there have been 20 championships in the past decade, there have been 11 different winners – but there the spread of champions seems a function of weakness, with the best players from the best sides being skimmed off by predators from Europe and Brazil after each championship in what's effectively a reverse of the draft system in US sports.

But even if we accept competitiveness per se as a good thing, there are different types of competitiveness. After all, while there have been five different champions in the past decade in Germany, Bayern Munich have won the title five times, the same number as Manchester United, Barcelona and Internazionale (Porto and Lyon, incidentally, are the most successful individual clubs in the 10 leagues considered with seven titles each in the past decade). In effect, in Germany there is a Big One and, if they fire, nobody else has much of a chance. Whether one giant and a handful of occasional challengers is preferable to two or three giants is debatable.

Looking at the number of champions, though, says little about whether a team at the bottom can beat a team at the top. To try to come up with a statistical basis for assessing competitiveness within a league, I looked at four metrics across the 10 leagues (England, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Portugal, Russia, Brazil, Argentina and Japan) over the past decade: the average gap from first to second at the end of the season (how dominant is the champion?); the average gap from first to fourth (is it only two or three teams who challenge the champion?); the average gap from first to last (what's the gulf in quality from top to bottom?); and the average gap from fourth to fourth-bottom (what's the difference in quality between the mid-ranking sides?). Because different leagues have different formats and are different sizes, these gaps have all been expressed as points-per-game. (Points deductions were ignored).

Team

1st-2nd

1st-4th

1st-last

4th-4th last England 0.17 0.52 1.92 0.79 Spain 0.14 0.5 1.42 0.62 Italy 0.19 0.53 1.66 0.68 Germany 0.2 0.4 1.4 0.71 France 0.19 0.42 1.3 0.54 Portugal 0.27 0.72 1.68 0.64 Russia 0.11 0.34 1.49 0.68 Brazil 0.17 0.33 1.18 0.56 Argentina 0.17 0.46 1.5 0.7 Japan 0.19 0.36 1.39 0.62

In terms of exciting title races, it turns out that Russia is the place to be, with Spain some way back, and the rest trailing far behind. Perhaps not surprisingly, given Porto's domination, Portugal has the highest gap from first to second, but what is striking is that Germany has had the second-least-close title races over the past decade, a fifth of a point-per-game separating first from second. The gap between first and fourth in the Bundesliga, though, is the fourth smallest of the 10 leagues surveyed, the gap from top to bottom the third smallest and the gap from fourth to fourth-bottom the smallest. That suggests that the leader often streaks away while the rest remain relatively tightly bunched.

The biggest gap from first to fourth is in Portugal. Again, that's in line with expectations: since the second world war, only Belenenses and Boavista, once each, have interrupted the flow of titles for Porto, Benfica and Sporting. There is a very clear historical Big Three who continue to dominate. In Italy, similarly, the two Milan clubs and Juventus (calciopolinotwithstanding) have clearly been dominant. What is perhaps unexpected, though, is that England have the third-biggest average gap from first to fourth: perhaps the Big Four was always something of a myth.

Brazil has the smallest gap from first to fourth, which it is tempting to ascribe to the size of the country. A population of almost 200 million can perhaps sustain more big clubs that smaller nations. It is also worth noting, though, the relative immaturity of a national championship in Brazil; it could be that as the present system becomes more established, money and success gravitates to a more select few.

But what's really telling is the last two columns, which show that there is a bigger gap between top and bottom of the Premier League and between fourth and fourth bottom in the Premier League than in any of the other nine leagues under consideration. Far from being the most competitive league in the world, in fact, it turns out to be the least. The league where the bottom is closest to the top, rather, is Brazil, which is remarkable when you consider that the statistics include the 28-team top flight of 2001 and the slow contraction to 20 in 2006 – the more teams there are, the wider you would expect that divide to be.

Now of course an analysis of points tells only part of the story. It may be, in some hard-to-quantify way, that lower Premier League teams fight harder before losing to the big guns, and it certainly is true that the culture of arranged games, mutually beneficial draws and the like, seems less pronounced in England than elsewhere.

In terms of hard statistics, though, the message is clear. The Premier League may lead the way in terms of marketing and self-promotion, but if you want competitiveness, go to Russia or Brazil.

Next week, I'll look at how competitiveness has changed in England over time, what the reasons for those changes may be and what the potential impact of scrapping collective bargaining for television rights may be.

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Ronaldo scored around 15 goals in his last season? Anelka even scored more and he became topscorer of Epl. So I wouldn't say he scored freely. I have also watched several weaker teams of the Primera Division and the oppostition's attackers have a lot more space. The defenders in Primera Division are more naive and, yes, more technical. But where phsycality combined with a good tactic can stop the best teams in the league. Technique obviousbly doesn't. When you have a more technical approach of defending, you will always lose to a squad with better players. Hercules won at Camp Nou last year, because they played with 10 defenders and scored from counters. In Spain there are hardly any suprising wins, because the best team always wins.

Your basis for the argument that there is a huge gap between defences in the Premier League to La Liga seems to mainly be based around the fact that there aren't many upsets against the top two teams, my argument would be that that isn't because the smaller teams are hugely weaker than their English counterparts, rather I would say it shows just how good Real Madrid and Barcelona are that they don't fall victim to upsets.

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Your basis for the argument that there is a huge gap between defences in the Premier League to La Liga seems to mainly be based around the fact that there aren't many upsets against the top two teams, my argument would be that that isn't because the smaller teams are hugely weaker than their English counterparts, rather I would say it shows just how good Real Madrid and Barcelona are that they don't fall victim to upsets.

Last year Real Madrid was their first good run in de CL in 7 years. Before last year, they only managed to get to the last 16. But even in that period Real Madrid easily made it to the top 2 and didn't have too much trouble with the teams in de Primera Division. Before Mourinho came, Real Madrid wasn't as good as they are now and they performed bad in the Champions League. So even when they weren't really good, they still managed to get in the top 2 without real trouble.

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Last year Real Madrid was their first good run in de CL in 7 years. Before last year, they only managed to get to the last 16. But even in that period Real Madrid easily made it to the top 2 and didn't have too much trouble with the teams in de Primera Division. Before Mourinho came, Real Madrid wasn't as good as they are now and they performed bad in the Champions League. So even when they weren't really good, they still managed to get in the top 2 without real trouble.

Over the course of the last 10 years only 3 different teams have won the Premier League. Over the course of the last 10 years only 3 different teams have won La Liga. Though they did struggle in Europe, it was still quite a talented team consisting of the likes of Robben, Sneijder, Van Nistelrooy, Cannavaro, Beckham ect. at different periods during that run. This is Real Madrid, it is the biggest club in all of the world so yes they will always have expected to get top 2 in their league. That doesn't prove that the Premier League is more competitive, as stats from The Guardian have proven, over the course of the last 10 years La Liga has been the more competitive league.

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