Hype of Overrated Premier League Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

Last week, I gasped after ESPN FC released its latest power rankings composed by former Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Shaka Hislop. The video seemed to be the ultimate proof that being a former player does not guarantee being a competent soccer analyst. The list displayed Hislop’s rather comical understanding of the European landscape. His compilation of teams was inundated with Premier League sides in what appeared to be a ranking vaguely based on a combination of spending and Premier league fandom.

The list featured Real Madrid in first, followed by Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and last but not least, Borussia Dortmund. The amusing thing about the list is that there are no consistent criteria as to his selection of teams. On the basis of spending alone, Bayern, PSG, Real Madrid, Barcelona and even Monaco belong high up on the ranking whereas United and Liverpool do not even deserve to be mentioned. But if he was going based on pure merit and recent successes, Bayern and Dortmund should be topping the list while Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool have no business even being mentioned. No matter which way you break down his rankings, the only thing that remains consistent is his bias in favor of the Premier League given the unwarranted abundance of English sides. Mentioning Liverpool on the list of top ten teams in Europe based on any criterion was bad enough as it is, but to rank them ahead of Dortmund, who were placed last, was so absurd that it made the list look like a parody of some sort.

Amateur football analysts who devote generous amounts of time following the Premier League and a few Champions League games here and there can be expected to come up with such pieces and rankings. However, this particular compilation showed us all that even former players who are now analysts can be equally atrocious in this role. The piece is also an example of countless such articles that are plagued by misconceptions and inherent prejudices that are in favor of the Premier League. The EPL is indeed a strong league and is collectively without question the league with the most spending power, but one must doubt that it is the best league in terms of quality. While the spending of sides such as Manchester City and Chelsea suggest that they are strong, one still doubts whether their success in spending can be translated onto the pitch. Chelsea enjoyed a rather fortuitous Champions League victory in the 2011-12 season, but put up the worst title defense ever imaginable as they crashed out before Christmas in the following season. Manchester City, despite being bloated by oil money, remain the joke of Europe after consecutive seasons of failure in surviving the group stages. As for Real Madrid, letting go of Mesut Ozil while paying well over the odds for Gareth Bale show that club are more interested in making headlines than actually attempting to address several glaring issues in their squad. The Spanish club continues to succeed in hiding the fact that they have been hugely underwhelming in Europe over the last decade, with a failure to make even a single Champions League final appearance.

Borussia Dortmund on the other hand developed a team that collectively cost less than the move Liverpool made for Andy Carroll, yet ended up playing in the Champions League final after back to back domestic titles in Germany. Last season was no flash in the pan. Despite their loss today against Napoli in the Champions League, Dortmund have not only compensated for the loss of Gotze with the arrival of the prolific Mkhitaryan, but have further augmented their squad with the signing of the speedy and dynamic Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang,, a player who touched Usain Bolt’s sprint time.

Dortmund already sit top of the Bundesliga so far this season and are Champions league favorites again. Klopp has toned down the smash and grab approach of last season and the side are looking far more stable this time around. The comical list compiled by Hislop may come back to haunt him as BVB look more likely to win the Champions League than Real Madrid, PSG or any other Premier League side that has splurged this summer.

29 thoughts on “Hype of Overrated Premier League Shows No Signs of Slowing Down”

  1. Hislop has never been taken seriously as a commentator on the game. I have no idea why ESPN continue to have him contribute. He just makes ESPN look like a network that is stuck in the 90’s as far is it’s coverage and understanding of the game. He may be the worst soccer commentator I’ve ever seen.

    As far as power rankings go, not having Napoli in the top 10 is a travesty. Shows a complete lack of understanding of the game. Italy is probably the most dis-respected league. And no one has taken note of how well Inter have started under Mazzari.

    But it must be said, that Liverpool have started quite well this season, and if power rankings are based solely on performances around Europe from the start of the season until the current match-day, then they do deserve to be there. But Utd, Chelsea and City on the list is ridiculously to be honest.

  2. I don’t get this article at all. Hype has nothing directly to do with quality, it’s all about entertainment. For years the English league has been more popular, and it has players from all around the world.

    My suggestion, enjoy what you enjoy and don’t worry about it.

  3. Rankings are opinions. In the end, they are meaningless.

    Did your team win its league at the end of the year? Were they European Champions? Did they win a cup (or cups)? Were they competitive? Did you enjoy watching them?

    That’s all that matters.

  4. Settle down son. Why get riled up over somebody’s opinion of who the top clubs are? Shaka’s rankings are filler for a soccer show, it’s a talking point and a fun thing to do. Shaka’s a pro who played the game at the highest level and he knows the game too, so lighten up.

    1. Spoken like a true PL fanboy… aside from the harsh tone I think the article actually has some valid points. But no, it is critical of the EPL so lets beat our chests

  5. While your point is a fair one, try and remain a little more neutral with your tone, man. This article sounds more like an angry rant than it does a solid analysis. By coming off as antagonistic you’re cheapening the value of your argument and preventing people from taking it as seriously as they should.

  6. Haha. This guy really hates the EPL. I read this article last week.

    Dortmund looked a real threat to win the whole thing yesterday, didn’t they?

      1. Did you watch them? They looked awful. So I am just using the same logic Arjun is. You really think Dortmund is better than Madrid and PSG? This writer clearly just has some vendetta against the EPL because he loves the Bundesliga.

        Maybe if I, and other Americans, could watch the Bundesliga (seriously, how do I do that?), the “hype” might be more apparent. But everyone knows and loves the EPL. Complaining about the attention ESPN and other media outlets give the EPL is like complaining about capitalism. They run their programs to make money. Nobody knows much about German football. Sorry.

        By the way, I still think, top to bottom, the EPL is superior to any other league.

        1. Why isn’t Dortmund better than Madrid and PSG? Oh wait, is it because they didn’t spend 80 million on a player?

          On what Basis is PSG and Madrid better than Dortmund then? In terms of spending, or in terms of football? Going by last season (and not just one game), BVB are better than the both of them. Real Madrid player BVB FOUR time slast season, and only managed to beat them ONCE. SO, do you STILL think Real Madrid are better than BVB?

          1. “do you STILL think Real Madrid are better than BVB?”

            Yes, I do. Mourinho poisoned that locker room last year. I think Madrid have better players.

            BVB had a great year last year, yet were two miracle goals away from losing to Malaga.

  7. This is a good article. THe tone is a bit harsh but it has some great points. Great point especially about Madrid. Real Madrid haven’t come to the CL final in over a decade. Spending 100 mill on Bale hardly convinces me that they are outright ‘favourites’. They will be around in the last four at the most but they have consistently failed to come to the final regardless of how much they spend

  8. Not surprised by the reaction to this article at all. Too many PL fanboys here. Don’t really think its harsh towards the PL either. Its nice to come across an article on this site that gives them a nice jolt once in a while. Lol

    Some great points, especially about Madrid. People assume that by spending millions means that you automatically become a contender. Not true at all. I’ve been following BVB since 09 and I can tell you that the work that Klopp has put in is absolutely priceless. No amount of oil money or EPL-esque sugar daddy influence can match the rise of his project!!!

  9. WoW… You sound bitter that more people watch and choose teams from the BPL than any other league in the world.


    If you like budesliga great, but to suggest that the two team german or Spanish leagues are as good as the BPL is more about you having unresolved issues than basing it on a facts. Eg: Swansea destroyed Valencia, Swansea finished 9th, Valencia finished where? 5th

    Football is about opinions, so go nuts, but there is no doubt that BPL is dominant for a reason in entertainment and European co-effiecnts.

    BPL clubs were so dominant in Europe they had to change the rules for qualification for UCL to limit too many BPL teams.

    Other wise my Spurs would’ve been in UCL with CFC, Farsenal, man city and Man Utd last season.

    The BPL as a division has faults of course, but it levels the playing field as much as it can, with revenue sharing, money gives the league an edge to attract top coaches and players. The pace of football in the BPL is faster and more entertaining.

    Yes CFC enjoyed a fortuitous win, but so did Real Madrid V Man Utd and Barca v CFC at the bridge. IF IF IF IF… Is a weak basis for any argument.

    If this article was written as Banter/a wind up its bang on, if it wants to be considerd in serious football debate then you’ve missed the mark, but good luck fella!

      1. with respect to them, they’re a pub team, it was more like a training session, and unfortunately as such did not keep up the intensity and I believe that is how they picked up injuries….

        fortunately they are not serious and all should be good fro Cardiff on Sunday.

  10. Looks like it was money well spent for Madrid

    European Champions, no choking Ozil, Bale scores the winnwe in the final

    You mad?

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