How Man United and Chelsea are Men Among Boys in the Premier League

Now that the opening weekend of the Premier League has kicked off, one thing is absolutely clear. Both Chelsea and Manchester United have a new rival to contend with. It’s an opponent that will be hanging over their heads throughout the entire season, adding pressure at key moments. It’s a new competitor in the Premier League that both top clubs fear. Its “name” is two words: goal difference.

No longer is it a question of whether Chelsea or Manchester United can win their matches each week. It’s now a question of how many goals they can score against their opponent. Such is the might of both clubs that seemingly the only thing that may separate them at the end of the season is goal difference. Perhaps we soccer fans should change the way we describe how many points a club gets each weekend? Instead of Chelsea or Manchester United “picking up three points,” maybe we should remark “Chelsea got a +6 this weekend.” What about Manchester United? “They got a +3.” Of course, I’m being slightly sarcastic, but you get the point. The gulf in class between the top two clubs and everyone else is extremely noticeable. Yes, the opening fixtures for Chelsea and Manchester United were against clubs who were just promoted from the Championship, but there’s an obvious difference in talent between the “Big Two” and the rest, even Arsenal and Liverpool.

I don’t mean any disrespect to supporters of the other 18 clubs in the Premier League, but the league has really turned into a league of men versus boys. West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United were schooled so much this past weekend that it was extremely blatant. And it’s not only recently promoted teams. Remember how Chelsea walked over seemingly tough competition last season such as Arsenal (both home and away)? And how Manchester United blew Arsenal away at the Emirates?

Yes, Chelsea and Manchester United will face difficult opposition now and again but it seems that they’re continually able to pull something out from their bag of tricks to still salvage a draw or grab all three points. But these close games are too few and far between. Instead it’s the pressure of goal difference that spurs them on to try to demolish teams and ratchet up the positive goal difference. Last season, Chelsea ended the league with a +71 goal difference. Manchester United, while only one point behind in second place, achieved a goal difference of +58. In the first season of the Premier League, 1992-93, there were two more teams in the league than there are now. But still Manchester United won the league with a goal difference of +36. Applying that goal difference to today’s standards, United would have the fourth best goal difference in the league.

For supporters of Manchester United and Chelsea, these one-sided “contests” are enjoyable to watch. But they’re not much fun for everyone else from the neutral observer or supporter of other teams. Manchester United and Chelsea shouldn’t change anything, and I don’t want to see the same type of parity which paralyzes a lot of American sports. Instead, there needs to be something done to level the playing field a little.

In sports, there are always underdogs. The reason many of us like underdogs is because sometimes the underdogs win. When you lose that, you lose unpredictability and things get decidedly boring. The 2010-11 Premier League is still only a few days old and things may change, but so far it looks like it’ll be a two-horse race with a lot of also-rans this season. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

25+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
  • Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
  • Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
  • Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
  • Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo.
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
  • $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
  • Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
  • Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family


  1. Stacy Richardson August 17, 2010
    • Eagle Eye August 17, 2010
    • Dave C August 17, 2010
  2. spark August 17, 2010
  3. Clampdown August 17, 2010
    • The Gaffer August 17, 2010
  4. lolwut August 17, 2010
  5. gunner August 17, 2010
  6. john August 17, 2010
  7. Robert August 17, 2010
  8. James August 17, 2010
    • The Gaffer August 17, 2010
  9. eplnfl August 17, 2010
    • MNUfan1991 August 17, 2010
      • Scott Alexander August 17, 2010
  10. Patrico August 17, 2010
  11. guitarearl August 17, 2010
    • Dave C August 17, 2010
  12. Sir Guy August 17, 2010
    • The Gaffer August 17, 2010
      • guitarearl August 17, 2010
  13. Mohammed August 17, 2010
  14. Gary August 17, 2010
    • The Gaffer August 17, 2010
      • jleau August 17, 2010
  15. Brandon August 17, 2010
  16. Behrad August 17, 2010
  17. Jacob August 17, 2010
  18. Brian August 17, 2010
    • Dave C August 17, 2010
      • guitarearl August 17, 2010
        • Matt T. August 17, 2010
  19. Liam August 17, 2010
  20. Sir Guy August 17, 2010
  21. Dave C August 17, 2010
  22. Yespage August 17, 2010
  23. Scott Alexander August 17, 2010
  24. mike August 17, 2010
  25. harry August 17, 2010
  26. dennis bergkamp August 17, 2010
  27. Guitarearl August 17, 2010
  28. ynwa86 August 17, 2010
  29. the other robert August 17, 2010
  30. Pakapala August 20, 2010

Leave a Reply

Translate »