Premier league toughness - Champions league strain.
- The competitive nature of the premier league and it's effect on the performance of English teams in the Champions League
It is well established that the Premier League is probably the toughest league in the world. With roughly six to seven teams fighting for a top-four finish every season to qualify for the Champions League. Every year three teams, get promoted to the premier league, and it is evident the challenges the new teams face, even though in recent years some teams such as Stoke City and Swansea maintained their ground and didn't fall into the abyss of relegation. This is important because the Championship is not an easy competition either, and this is indicative of why promoted teams don't follow the status quo which suggest they should all get relegated.
The amount of money available to all top-flight clubs in the premier league is what makes the league very challenging. The revenue from broadcasting deals has made clubs much more able to challenge. A good example is the transfer fee of Yannick Bolasie from Crystal Palace to Everton in 2016 for 25 million pounds. That is a lot of money if you asked most fans in 2015 for a club like Everton to spend. The point here is, any club with the right level and resources for negotiation can sign a top player from the league itself and more commonly from other leagues. This has increased the quality of football in the league over the years, you will enjoy watching a Watford, Southhampton side take on Manchester United away and they might get a win, the assumption that certain teams will get thrashed is long gone.
The tough nature of the competition could be somewhat harming the chances of premier league clubs in the Champions League. Why?. All down to one thing, fatigue. Every player can only exert so much energy between games, and when a side plays a more competitive side they will work harder to maintain possession, defend, counter-attack and so on. Now imagine a Chelsea side that faced a West Brom side away on Sunday, then had to face a Bayern Munich side that faced Stuttgart the weekend before the Wednesday clash. There is room to debate that the Chelsea side is physically more drained than the Bayern Munich side that (let's suppose) had over 75% possession and the Stuttgart side they faced only had 3 shots on goal to test their keeper. Now imagine this week in week out, a top four qualifying side in England is at a huge disadvantage, it's a constant battle every week to get points, and then there is the issue of the winter break which was always a factor. The introduction of the winter break in the 2019-2020 season, should, in reality, help Premier League clubs.
In recent years, premier league clubs have managed to get to the occasional semi-final/final but the other teams (nothing against their quality), shine against Premier league teams mainly because of the constant battle they face every week. The highly competitive nature of the premier league is what makes it a viewing pleasure on a global scale. Competition cannot be reduced, it is embraced, however, solutions to work around inter-competitions such as the Champions League and Europa League should be introduced. The introduction of the winter break is one of these solutions. Football is not only a physical game but one of mental toughness and respect to all the players making the sport the beautiful game we know today.Published 30 Sep 2018, 23:43 IST