Towards the end of last month, 22nd November 2015, Leicester City (yes, Leicester), are top of the Premier League after beating Newcastle United 3-0. The fairytale of Jamie Vardy continued as he equalled Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in ten consecutive Premier League matches.
Many pundits and fans alike claim that the Premier League is the best league in the world. But is it really? Perhaps the most competitive, but the best? Not likely.
English football has suffered from mediocracy for many years at an international level and the same is happening at a domestic and european level regarding club football. The last English team to win the Champions League was Chelsea, in 2012, and many agreed it wasn’t the most exhilarating team. Their winning campaign is probably remembered more for Gary Neville’s reaction to Fernando Torres’ goal against Barcelona in the semi final at the Nou Camp, rather than the fact the club made history by winning the biggest club competition in football for the first time in their history. And, as we are constantly reminded in the build up to a World Cup, the last time and only time England lifted the trophy was 1966- yet we constantly set ourselves up for failure when we’re expecting the trophy parade at the end of July.
When was the last time we, as football fans, were left in awe by an English team? The fact is, simply, our domestic league isn’t the best. When we watch the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, who boast so many superstars, and we drool over the likes of Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo, our teams just don’t have this affect. Our top teams don’t stand a chance against the very top teams in Europe. An English team hasn’t been a favourite for the Champions League in a long time. The last team to compete at that level was Ferguson’s United, winning it in 2008, and making the final in 2009, but they lost to Guardiola’s Barcelona, arguably the greatest club side ever.
However, I do believe our league is the most competitive. The sheer fact Leicester City are top of the Premier League says it all. Where else would that happen? Currently in Spain, Germany and France, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are top, you know, the usual suspects. I’m not suggesting Leicester will go on to win the league, not at all, but I admire the competitiveness our league has to offer. Anyone can beat anyone on any given day, which unfortunately, as a result hinders the national team in my opinion. The ‘big’ games are usually a spectacle, with such fixtures as Liverpool beating Manchester City 4-1 at the Etihad, and earlier in the season Arsenal beat Manchester United 3-0.
The competitive nature of the Premier League shouldn’t be confused with being the best quality-wise. Like I said, as I write this, Leicester City sit top of the Premier League, whereas in Spain, Barcelona have just thumped their arch rivals Real Madrid 4-0 at the Bernabeu. I think we know where the real quality lies.