The EPL: The Best Product Or League In The World?
September 08, 2015
Cast your mind back to last December, when Arsenal were granted a relatively favourable Champions League draw against French side Monaco. Having being eliminated at the first knock-out stage by European giants such as Barcelona, AC Milan and Bayern Munich in the previous three years, Arsene Wenger’s improving team finally had a genuine chance of reaching the quarter-finals.
This dream was shattered just two months later, however, after Arsenal succumbed to a 3-1 home defeat against their disciplined but limited opponents during a harrowing first-leg at the Emirates. While the Gunners performed superbly in the second-leg to win 2-0, they left the competition on away goals and simultaneously underlined the frailties of the English Premier League in the process.
Despite this, the British media continues to perpetuate the myth that the English Premier League is the best competition of its type in the world. While this assertion has considerable support during the mid-noughties when English teams Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea dominated the European Champions League, it now sounds more like a separate plea than a cogent argument. Even England’s top representative Chelsea is ranked 4th by UEFA, and despite reaching the semi-final in 2013 the club failed to progress past Paris St. Germain in the second round last year.
With no English winner since 2012 and just one success in the last seven years, it is hard to make an argument for the EPL as being the best in the world. It is certainly the most entertaining, however, and this is perhaps what experts are alluding to when they discuss the Premier League and its unique brand of football. As such it is an extremely lucrative and entertaining product, and one which arguably comes at the cost of developing young British players, improving the technical aspect of the British game and creating a healthy balance between attack and defence.
The Last Word…
Ultimately, it is as a product that the EPL shines and earns its place as one of the world’s most watched and revered leagues. It certainly lacks the depth of talent boasted by La Liga, while the German Bundesliga also has more intense competition and a greater focus on technical ability. Indeed a look at the Bundesliga odds at the newest bookies will show you how competative a league it is.
The most worrying this is that the English league continues to believe whole-heartedly in its own greatness, meaning that the portents for change and improvement appear decidedly bleak from the outside looking in.