For years the Premier League has been branded as the “best” league in modern day football. Yet as this season has shown, this statement can no longer be the case. The abject failure of many English clubs in Europe has totally transformed the myth and the reality is something altogether different.
Take Manchester United, the undisputed kingpins of the Premier League era, how many times have they prospered in Europe’s premier competition during this period? Only twice! For a side which has won twelve league titles this fact is curious to say the least. Perhaps the Premier League was always more of a brand than being actually competitive on the European stage. Certainly, I cherish the excitement that the league produces on a weekly basis; however for the same pundits to consistently label the league as outstanding is remarkable.
Games such as the Arsenal-Spurs game last Sunday evoke pleasure in even the most timid of football fans, yet quality wise the game was sorely lacking in this respect. Maybe, the necessity for quality has been discarded and replaced by the need for excitement but if this is so are these clubs doing themselves justice? Take Napoli Chelsea, the tie while not over looks to be in a perilous state from a Chelsea perspective, would their supporters wish to be involved in six goal thrillers with Man Utd at the Bridge or keeping clean sheets in Europe and progressing to the latter stages. The biggest disappointment of all the English teams has been Manchester United!
For a manager who has enjoyed so much success, Sir Alex’s tactics in Europe are constantly being outmanoeuvred by opposition coaches. His failure to win more Champions League titles during his tenure is a damning indictment on not only his tactical nous, but also it is systematic of the lack of quality present in the Premier League. The arrival of foreign players into the country was lauded and rightly so, but the standard of domestic players has never progressed to any notable extent during this period. The Premier League brings more joy to households than perhaps any other league in the world, however its insistence on marketing itself as the ‘’best’’ has essentially become laughable.
Too often today players a built up in the league after only a few good games and made out to be world beaters when anything couldn’t be further from the truth. The so called’’ golden generation’’ of English players that dined at the top table of English football, while good players were certainly not great players. Perhaps the biggest indictment of English football has been the actual world class players who have come to the Premier League in their prime? Zidane, Figo, and Raul all these superstars of the modern era would never have contemplated coming to the league as standard wise it isn’t the best. The best player of the last ten years in the Premier League Ronaldo will unquestionably reach his peak in Spain. Will we ever see a Messi playing in the league that we all love? I would love to say yes, but historically speaking the chances are he will ply his trade elsewhere. Until the Premier League realises that it needs to become more skilful the English clubs will suffer on the European stage and we will never see any of the truly great players playing every weekend in England.