Is The Premier League Really All That Entertaining?
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on September 25, 2016
Premier League fans, as I’m sure you’ll all remember this was the weekend that brought us Arsene Wenger’s twentieth year in charge of his Arsenal team, marked Tottenham’s best start to the league in fifty years and brought us twenty-nine goals in only eight games. It was one of those weekends to remember in the Premier League, and one I’m sure many of you may or may not have enjoyed. So, I pose the question: Is the Premier League all that entertaining?
The simple answer? Of course, it is.
This weekend shared with us so many stories and raised so many more questions, it happens every weekend, and every team can take something home with them, whether that be a positive or negative message.
Jose Mourinho proving last week’s results were a blip, beating reigning champions Leicester. Will Manchester City go a season unbeaten after winning 11/11 games? Will Sunderland ever not be in a relegation battle? All of these are a small collection of examples of the points and questions raised on a weekly basis, very rarely do fans not take anything home with them. You can never predict where a result is going to come from, Bournemouth beating high-flying Everton is a testament to that.
So why do we see so many people slandering it? They say it isn’t even a good league, never mind the greatest league in the world. It’s the marmite of football. You either love it or hate it. If you follow me or the site well, you’ll remember not too long ago I did a report on Paul Scholes’ opinions on the Premier League.
You can find the article here: http://fromthestands.co.uk/manchester-united/paul-scholes-non-league-foreign-football-better-premier-league/
To summarise it quickly, though, in his new book, written with another ex- Manchester United players, he stated that he preferred most other leagues, including non-league football to the Premier League. Now, you can interpret that any which way you want to, but it does raise a fair point about the Premier League and the reasons not to like it.
It’s far too busy, there’s too much money, far too much money spent and managers focus too much on collecting points rather than entertaining the fans, mostly in white-hot fear for their jobs. All of this could be true, especially in the lower part of the league. West Bromwich Albion, for example, is always a club seen as ‘boring’, that they defend too much, that there isn’t enough attacking, that it’s just plain, stale football; and I can see why people agree.
Too often do we see a team at the bottom half of the table stop back, try to defend as a stone wall, and either fail, not being able to put up a fight, or the team will just sit back for a full 90 minutes, hoofing it out of their half to a striker. It’s not a style of football I’d describe as entertaining.
Teams like Arsenal and Manchester City will always play entertaining football, they have the money and the players to do so. Bottom half teams, however never will, they don’t have the financial power or the players when coming up against a big team, it’s an unbalanced league without a doubt.
What do I find entertaining then? Box-to-box running, lung-busting counter-attacks, tight, exciting score-lines, leaving you wondering what the score-line will be at the end. Now this is football in an ideal world, not ours. But could it be closer to this? Should it be?
So what is the verdict then? Shall we strive for a more entertaining Premier League with more far open games? Or should we stick to the notion of sticking 10 players behind the ball, looking to keep a point?
Here’s my opinion:
This article was actually inspired by a walk I went on this morning with my dog, walking past the pitches down my lane, I saw the local under 10’s against some West Ham-esque claret and blue shirts. It was half-way through when I started watching, but I was blown away by the quality of football being played, and the entertainment that I’d already seen in such a short time. There was Pep Guardiola-style passing, pinpoint crossing and some good and bad finishes late in the game to make for an intense final few minutes.
That sounds entertaining, right? One lad who scored a double ran away with a Shearer-like floating hand in the air. It reminded of what football was all about, especially at that age.
It’s so much fun to watch as a neutral, not having to worry about who’s beating who in relation to the consequences your team might face, and it’s a stressful game to keep up with. With my team Sunderland losing 3-2 after being 2-0 up yesterday, it angered me, the stresses of the Premier League really do taste a dampened flavour sometimes. That walk this morning re-equated me with what football should be.
So finally, here’s my advice:
Re-discover football! Go out to a local, lower league or even a foreign game, be neutral. Football is meant to be enjoyed, and without offence to Premier League fans, it’s easy to get lost in the emotional tides of your club team. Especially when things aren’t going your way.
The Premier League is a harsh and cruel league to be in, sometimes you need to take a step back from it. You could find yourself turning sour against your team, shouting and being negative as a whole, don’t let that happen. Enjoy football as a whole. The players and managers will thank you for it.
Have fun, and enjoy playing it, watching it, coaching it and even refereeing it. It’s what it’s there for and we shouldn’t forget that. Football is a lifestyle, so live it well.