The American sports landscape is crowded and I find myself often split in my attention between College Football, College Basketball, Golf, NFL Tennis, the NBA, etc. I watch or try to keep track of everything except for Ice Hockey which I will freely admit I hate.
Soccer is the world’s game. Very few people would dispute that even though most Americans don’t care for Soccer partly because they have not given Soccer a chance, or because the Soccer in the United States is at times (okay, most of the time) unwatchable. I have been a Soccer fan all my life but have found in the last five to seven years I can only follow and watch English Football (Soccer) consistently. Today’s match between Arsenal and Chelsea once again demonstrated that from my perspective there is nothing like EPL anywhere else in the sports world.
The intensity of today’s match was amazing, and unlike American sports, you cannot even attempt to leave your couch to get a cup of coffee or a snack because there are no stoppages of play. The final 25 minutes of today’s match was some of the most captivating back and forth action I have ever watched in any sporting event, in the twenty five plus years I have been following sports closely. My phone rang several times but I wouldn’t even so much as attempt to see who was calling because if I did I would surely miss a key moment in the match.
The EPL has several factors that set it apart from other Soccer leagues and from all American professional sports. The first would be the passion of the fans and the intensity of the players. Unlike American sports where the action is slow, and the players at times seem to be holding back, in the EPL you have back and forth give and take as you did today, although I will admit Chelsea and Arsenal have different styles of play. Arsene Wenger prefers more possession and buildup which unlike Chelsea attacking style often times slows the action down. Jose Mourinho prefers wide play and using his flanks, but with addition of Michael Ballack to the Chelsea lineup, the Lions are making an attempt to play possession football, although in my humble opinion Ballack doesn’t fit this Chelsea team. The passion of the fans at an EPL game has no equivalent in the USA. The closest thing would be an Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball game, but even that pales in comparison.