English football is the Real Deal
A couple of nights ago, I tuned in to watch Arsenal visit Reading in a Capital One Cup match at the Madejski Stadium. Although I’m not a Gunners fan or a Reading fan, I have been closely following English football since I was seven. Before the game, most of the football world didn’t expect a 7-5 score line. Finally, I was sure English football always was and always will be THE most entertaining football and football scenarios to watch.
Not only has the game shown the quality of English football, it also shows the hidden twists and turns. Who would have expected Man City to triumph last year after falling eight points behind bitter rivals Manchester United? The English game is full of twists and turns and it is exactly why we watch it.
That epic classic was a great example. Arsenal 4-1 down at half time to Reading and they manage to turn things around in great fashion and win 7-5. Newly promoted to League One, Paolo Di Canio’s Swindon Town were 2-0 down at half time against Aston Villa. The Robins did not give up yet, as they scored two goals both by 18-year old substitute Miles Storey. The game was not over yet as Christian Benteke’s injury time goal booked the West Midlands side a place in the Quarter-Finals. Championship side Leeds United also surprised many pundits with their convincing win over Premier League side Southampton by three goals to nil.
Not only is the domestic league arguably the best in the world but the record of English Clubs in the past 10 seasons cannot be ignored. In every one of those 10 seasons, at least one English team is present in the Quarter Finals. And with the exception of the 02/03 and 09/10 editions there has been at least one English team in the Semi-Finals.
Semi Finalists in previous editions:
02/03- Inter Milan Real Madrid AC Milan (Champions) Juventus (Finalists)
03/04- Deportivo La Coruña Chelsea Porto(Champions) Monaco(Finalists)
04/05- Chelsea PSV Eindhoven Liverpool (Champions) Milan (Finalists)
05/06- AC Milan Villareal FC Barcelona (Champions) Arsenal (Finalists)
06/07- Manchester United Chelsea AC Milan (Champions) Liverpool (Finalists)
07/08- FC Barcelona Liverpool Manchester United (Champions) Chelsea (Finalists)
08/09- Arsenal Chelsea FC Barcelona (Champions) Manchester United (Finalists)
09/10- Olympique Lyon FC Barcelona Inter Milan (Champions) Bayern Munich (Finalists)
10/11- Real Madrid Schalke 04 FC Barcelona (Champions) Manchester United (Finalists)
11/12- Real Madrid Barcelona Chelsea (Champions) Bayern Munich (Finalists)
Recent history speaks for itself, with the exception of the 02/03 and 09/10 seasons, English football have always been a major force in the Champions League. In four out of the ten seasons there has been THREE English teams present in the semi-final.
What makes the Premier League also exciting and entertaining is that it never has been a ridiculous two horse race from the start. La Liga has evolved into a two horse race in recent years as in the past three seasons the difference between second and third place has been 30 points or more!
While in the Premier League, in the past five seasons the last matchday of the seasons has proved critical and fatal in deciding where the trophy will end up. With the exception of the 06/07,08/09 and 10/11 seasons where Manchester United had made sure the league will end up at Old Trafford, every other season had its twists and turns.
In the 07/08 season, goal difference separated Chelsea and Manchester United going into matchday 38. United emerged victorious over Wigan Athletic with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs while Chelsea drew with Bolton at the Bridge. In the 09/10 season all that separated Chelsea and United was one point. Chelsea beat Wigan 8-0 at Stamford Bridge while United beat Stoke City 4-0, thus Chelsea claimed their fourth League title.
In 11/12 it was a huge turn of events, and as a United fan, a heartbreak to watch. Man United defeated Sunderland 1-0 at the Stadium of Light while the City and QPR game was deadlocked at 2-2. Approaching the 94th minute Sergio Aguero scored the decisive goal to grant City their 1st Premier League title and 3rd English League title.
If we look at the excitement and entertainment it is incomparable to any other league.
Nothing is expected. Who would expect a struggling team like Norwich to beat Arsenal? Or Chelsea to draw with bottom of the table QPR? Manchester United losing to Everton? All the scenarios are unexpected. Whereas the La Liga, we find Barcelona and Real Madrid winning and scoring more than three goals on a regular basis.
Or in the Bundesliga where Bayern Munich are the only constant team competing for the league. Yes, Dortmund and Schalke are now rising as serious forces but it was never like that, while the lack of money and finance has buried some Italian teams.
Simply put, English football is the Real Deal.