Written by Mark Docherty
In recent years, mainly due to English clubs’ failure in European competitions, questions have been raised about whether the Premier League is still the best, most competitive league in the world. For me, the answer is clear. This season, competition in English football is stronger than ever, with footballing giants such as Liverpool and Manchester United taking bold steps to try to re-assert their footballing dominance, as well as Manchester City and Arsenal showing no signs of giving up their ongoing quests for the Premier League title. Elsewhere, Chelsea are looking to bounce back from their disastrous 2015/16 season, while Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs will look to push on from their recent successes. Most remarkable of all, Leicester City will look to take their miracle one step further and defend the title which they won against all odds last season.
credit LIHD Leicester City
If anybody needs further convincing about the superiority of the Premier League, they need only look at the managers and players who have chosen to vacate other top clubs in order to test themselves in the Premier League. This coming season will see Pep Guardiola, José Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino, Claudio Ranieri, and Arséne Wenger amongst others competing for the title. Considering that some of these managers elected to leave illustrious sides such as Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, and the Italy national team in order to come to the Premier League shows how ripe the competition is.
credit Thomas Rodenbucher
It seems that, despite the relative job security that can be enjoyed when managing big clubs elsewhere in Europe, the pull of England’s top division is still enough to make managers hazard their reputations in order to prove themselves. This surely is overwhelming proof that the Premier League remains the best league in Europe and the world, especially when you consider that Conte and Mourinho felt that the lure of the Premiership was so great that they were prepared to join clubs who won’t be playing Champions League football this season.
The number of foreign players in the Premier League is also testament to the fact that it is the best league in the world. Why would players abandon their home countries, often rejecting better financial deals in order to do so, in order to ply their trade in England if they were not sure that they were getting the best football available?
Roughly 65% of Premiership players are foreign, meaning that they must feel that the Premier League is more attractive than the league in their own nation, and even the nations which boast competitive leagues such as Spain and Germany see many of their top players playing in England. Players such as Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny and David De Gea – players who could surely play for any club of their choice in their own country, or the world – choose to play for English clubs. That has to say a lot for the Premier League, as in the short career of a professional footballer, they will look to play for the best teams and at the highest levels they possibly can. The fact that so many of the world’s top players see the Premier League as the highest level speaks for itself.
In comparison to the five or six teams who will be challenging for the Premiers League title this season, the rest of Europe’s top leagues will see no more than a couple of top-level teams leaving the rest of it’s competitors in the dust. France, Italy, and Germany will almost certainly see their titles won by PSG, Juventus, and Bayern Munich respectively, while Spain will have a three-horse race between Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, and Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, it is almost impossible to pick a winner in the Premier League this season, and there’s always a possibility that another title challenger could arrive out of the blue. The great thing about the Premier League is that fans never know what to expect, whereas Europe’s other top leagues can often be correctly predicted months in advance. As a fan, the Premier League is far more exciting to watch than watching a French or Italian giant retain their trophy once again.
The English top tier can also be relied upon to produce an intriguing relegation battle each season, which often results in seeing clubs recovering from relegation certainties to final day survivors. Likewise, teams can fall apart after successful starts to the season and find themselves embroiled in relegation battles.
credit Santi Villamarin
Even the so-called “mid-table mediocrities” are more than capable of putting on a show, as was shown when Bournemouth shared six goals with Everton last season, or when Stoke City played Manchester City off the park in a 2-0 win. These are examples of the unpredictability of the Premier League, with any team being able to beat any other on their day. Leicester’s incredible charge to the title is the perfect backup to the statement: in the Premier League, anything can happen.
These are the reasons why, in my opinion, the Premier League’s status as the best league in the world cannot be questioned. Not only is it loved by fans from all over the world, but players and managers from around the globe see it as the highest level of club football. The competition is unparalleled and any of a number of teams could be lifting the trophy come May. It seems that, although the national team has not done the country justice recently, we can, at least, be proud of our domestic football.
Is the Premier League the best league in the world? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by LIHD Leicester City