Saturday, March 24, 2018

This season’s EPL a refreshing change

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 29 Dec 2015

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri will be hoping his Foxes side can continue their fairy-tale campaign in the Premier League

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri will be hoping his Foxes side can continue their fairy-tale campaign in the Premier League

The Premier League for a long time was rather straightforward, well the race for the title and the top four was anyway.

The same team’s challenged for the Premier League title and the top four positions.

This season’s title race has become particularly intriguing with Tottenham and Leicester well-placed for a challenge at the top.

The spluttering’s of reigning champions Chelsea and Manchester United have given the top of the table a rather unfamiliar look.

We needed a change

If everybody in the Premier League is honest it was getting slightly mundane in recent years. The English top-flight is billed as one of the best leagues in the world, but it was relatively predictable. More often than not Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United appeared in the top four.

There was the occasional insertion of Liverpool and Tottenham, but usually it was the same four teams. In reality everybody in the top half of the table will believe that a European place is a realistic objective this season.

The likes of Crystal Palace and Stoke look like emerging forces in the league and are threatening to throw the cat amongst the pigeons this season. Both teams have produced very strong performances against the so called ‘big teams’ this season.

No team is an intimidating force in the Premier League any more and more importantly there is no longer a dominant force. Chelsea was the dominant force this season. Earlier in the season Manchester City threatened to run away with the league.

However, they have frequently had their flaws exposed ruthlessly this season. Out of the carnage of inconsistency, Leicester has emerged as league leaders, which in seasons gone by would have been unthinkable.

Bad for the English game

Some rather cynical people have claimed that the current situation in the Premier League could be bad for the Premier League and English teams in Europe. Some have even questioned how Leicester would do in the Champions League?

Well that is just absolute tripe to be honest. The same old English clubs have generally struggled in Europe’s elite competition. Who says Leicester would perform any worse, than say Manchester United this season?

The Red Devils went out of the group stage of the Champions League, because quite frankly boss Louis van Gaal could not find a way for his expensively assembled squad of players to score enough goals in crucial games.

Who says Leicester or for that matter Crystal Palace would do any worse than the Red Devils in Europe’s elite competition? Both are above United the Premier League table and both are more exciting to watch than United.

Normally may be restored

History tells us that Leicester’s charge for the Premier League title is likely to peter out. The same teams always seem to be able to stay the distance and that is displayed in the fact that big spending Manchester City are once again favourites to be crowned champions at odds of 5/4.

City and Arsenal are perennial title challengers and are currently considered to be the most likely Premier League champions. They have bigger resources and supposedly better squads than Leicester.

The Foxes have a relatively small squad by top-flight standards and at some point their form is likely to dip. Their performance this season is certainly a fairy-tale story and most neutrals are hoping that it ends in a fairy-tale ending of Leicester emerging as champions.

It would be a kick in the teeth for those big spending ‘big clubs’. It would also make a refreshing change to the richest clubs winning the big trophies. If the unlikely happens and Leicester does win the title, then it will have had nothing to do with money, it will have been sheer hard work and skill from everybody connected with the club.

Unfortunately this is real life. If the Premier League wrote Goldilocks and the Three Bears, poor little Goldie would have been eaten by the three bears, or alternatively sued by them for trespassing on their property.

In the end money always seems to win-out in football, just like any other walk of life. The romantic in me is willing Leicester on to win the title, but the realist in me knows there is very little chance of it happening.

Manchester City could go back above the Foxes with a win at the King Power Stadium this evening. Then for me there would be a feeling of ‘oh well it was good while it lasted’.

This season has been refreshing, but I get the sense that normal service will likely be restored at the end of the season and people will be left to wondered what might have been.

Can the underdogs continue to impress in the Premier League this season?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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