Measuring The Quality Of The EPL

If you took the 20 clubs in the English Premiership and had to sort them into three different categories (“Masterful,” “Mediocre” and “Anti-Soccer”), which teams would go into what buckets?

Interesting question, right? My point is that wealthy clubs such as Chelsea, Man United and Liverpool have created such a gap between the rich and the “poor” in the league. All that the smaller, weaker teams can do is play to avoid defeat. The end result is an anti-soccer style of play epitomized by the 4-5-1 formation.

Here’s my attempt to place the teams into the appropriate buckets. The decision, of course, is made harder by the very inconsistent performance by some teams.

Masterful: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Wigan.
Mediocre: Spurs, Fulham, Manchester United, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Birmingham, Blackburn, Charlton, West Brom, and West Ham.
Anti-Soccer: Portsmouth, Everton, Bolton, and Sunderland.

Twenty percent of the teams are in the Masterful category (and Anti-Soccer), while the lion share of teams (60%) make up the Mediocre category. How does this compare to previous seasons?

7 thoughts on “Measuring The Quality Of The EPL”

  1. You have Man U as a mediocre team. You’re kidding, right? I can’t stand them either, but they’re clearly in the Masterful group.

    If your list is strictly based on this season, then I agree (except for Man U).

    If we’re talking long-term though, I’d say there are the 4 super powers (Chelsea, Arsenal, Man U, Liverpool), a few teams that have been at that level and/or could reach that level (Blackburn, Newcastle, Spurs, Villa) and the rest that are hoping for a Roman Abromovich-type miracle.

  2. If your article was not about money creating a divide in the EPL calling Wigan masterful would be acceptable.

    However they are a great example of what a ‘poor’ club is able to achieve in a special season.

  3. Good comments by everyone. I should clarify that the three categories are based on the team’s current excitement level, not position within the table.

    Man United was one of the team’s that I was considering for “Masterful,” but their performances of late, other than their huge win against Liverpool, have left much to be desired. Just in the past few weeks, they’ve lost against Blackburn and Man City.

    Wigan is definitely the anomaly. They haven’t spend millions, but their performances and never-say-die attitude have been astounding.

  4. Hasn’t this always been the case with English football? Hasn’t it always been a league where there are 2-3 great teams and the rest a notch down? I’ve only been following the league for about 10 years so I’m not familiar enough with the history to know for sure. From what I’ve read though, it seems like this is the way it’s always been.

    And isn’t it the same in every European league. And more importantly, doesn’t it have to be? If there was a level of parity akin to the NFL – where one year a team is good and the next they’re awful – the Champions League and other various European competitions would be invalidated (or at least, horrendous to watch). In European soccer it seems like there’s a need for dynasties.


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