by Oliver Wright
|Third in the League|
However, at the beginning of the season, who could have predicted such events? Arsenal were signing big names such as Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy and Danny Welbeck, whereas Southampton had been stripped of what seemed like impossible-to-refuse offers for their star performers of the previous season, whilst being written off from any respectable finish the next season. Robbie Savage, the ex-footballer turned pundit even went as far as including Southampton in his list of relegation risks in a controversial pre-season article which he has recently apologised for.
Even though the average goals per game (2.59) is considerably lower than its three preceding seasons (2.81, 2.80, and 2.77 starting at 2011/12), my enjoyment of the unpredictable nature of the matches and the tighter more inclusive relegation dogfight has increased dramatically. Every ‘top team’ has had to watch their step to avoid tripping up against the seemingly more determined mid-table finishers, whilst only five points separates the bottom eight clubs, who are realising that they are in for the long-haul.
|Fans' favourite, Yannick Bolasie|
I have, though, heard many express the view that Manchester United’s excessive yet unsuccessful spending throughout the year has dampened the traditionally best team in England, an argument that has been echoed throughout the country as many believe that young British quality is being shadowed by the talented foreign players who are being brought in for ridiculous amounts of money.
To this, though, I would respond that it has made the League even more fascinating.
Teams with much smaller squads with supposedly ‘less quality’ such as West Ham, Swansea, Newcastle and Southampton, have held their own against the giants, Newcastle even pulling of the impossible by ending Chelsea’s unbeaten season with a brilliant 2-1 in early December. Every game now is unpredictable, enticing every football fan into the consistent magic on show at most stadiums.
|Giant-killers, MK Dons|
Finally, to those who say that the quality of Premier league football is on the decline, I present to you the fact that in Champions League football this year, the three qualifying English clubs all beat the top three German teams in their respective groups, gaining entry into the next round of the competition which brings together the greatest teams in Europe.