Following the English Premier League weekend, Phil Neville lambasted the competition as boring. How dare he, right? The English Premier League is only the best football league in the world according to the marketing genius that are paid by Sky Sports.
It is very true that the English Premier League isn’t the most technical or tactical league. Those traits are pushed aside for more aggressive football. Quick, direct players are regularly favoured over more technical football players. It isn’t just in the top-flight that it is preferred, but all the way down to the grassroots level. There, smaller, more technical players don’t even get a kick of the ball.
Even Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard declared his Reds under-18 squad needs to be more physical and do fewer “Cruyff turns” to improve. Perhaps Neville’s quality complaints should be more addressed to the British style of football rather than the league as a whole.
If Neville believes the English Premier League is boring, then he needs to watch football from some of the other leagues in Europe. While he may have criticised quality, it can be argued the entertainment value elsewhere isn’t that great.
Spain is once again a two-horse race between Barcelona and Real Madrid. In 85 La Liga seasons, the two Spanish giants have combined to win 56 titles. This season will make 57 as both clubs are duking it out for the championship again. Since 2000, only two other teams – Valencia and Atletico Madrid – have won La Liga.
In Germany, things aren’t much better. Spain may have a two-horse race, but the Bundesliga is typically a one-horse competition. Bayern Munich have already wrapped up their 27th German title this campaign, which is 18 more than nearest rival Nurnberg.
What about in Italy? While just seven points separate leaders Juventus and Roma, the Scudetto is the Bianconeri’s to lose. The two sides will clash next weekend, but even a Roma win would need a complete Juventus’ capitulation for the Giallorossi to claim the title. Serie A has been greatly entertaining this term, but at no real point has Roma or Napoli truly challenged Juventus; who should win their sixth straight title.
If Neville wants exciting football, he should probably look towards France. Ligue 1 is coming down to the wire with surprise leaders Monaco three points up on reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain. The French season has been full of surprises on the pitch as Mario Balotelli inspired Nice early on, and the southerners looked like a title contender. Despite fading in the second half of the season, Nice have kept pressure on the top two, and their win over PSG two weeks ago could give Monaco the championship.
So, that takes us back to the English Premier League where Chelsea continue their march to the title. The teams that occupy the second through sixth position are still jockeying for position. To say the football this season has been boring isn’t true, unless Neville has solely watched the sleep inducing Jose Mourinho Manchester United.
Chelsea’s tactics and quality have been nearly unstoppable. Tottenham have been brilliant to watch at times, and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have been sporadic but fun. Even Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have been entertaining when in the mood.
The English Premier League is certainly over-hyped, but to say it is completely boring isn’t accurate. There is definitely worse football out there, and if he is so bored with it, perhaps he should go back into coaching to make it more entertaining.