It’s that time of the year again and football fans can’t control their excitement. After a couple of months of break, club football returns in Europe and it feels fantastic. All over Europe, the teams have been preparing themselves for the season ahead with pre-season games. Since the beginning of August, top level club football in Portugal, France has already started with the Premier League in England starting on Friday.
The Premier League has been getting more and more competitive with each season and this season would be no different. Gone is the era where the top 4 i.e., Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea ruled the league. In the past few seasons, it has become so much more competitive and entertaining that there is now a top 6 that vies for the trophy! But the Leicester City in the 2015-16 season showed that the name and size don’t matter as they pipped the giants of the league to lift the trophy for the first time. The top tier of the league has some new entrants namely Manchester City who won the league in the 2013-14 season, Tottenham Hotspurs FC who have proved themselves to be a force to be reckoned with.
Like every season, the transfer windows play a crucial role. Thanks to sponsors’ money and TV deals, the teams haven’t shied away to spend big and break their transfer records. The costliest deal in the Premier League in this window was the deal between Manchester United and Everton for Romelu Lukaku who was sold for a reported £76 m which was their second costliest signing of all time. Liverpool broke their club record with the purchase of Mohammed Salah from AS Roma for £37 m. Chelsea too broke their transfer record as they bought Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid for £58 m. Benjamin Mendy of Manchester City became the costliest defender of all time (£51 m) when the deal was agreed between Manchester City and Monaco. The new entrants to the Premier League are more than ever as the Premier League clubs spent north of £1 billion!
If that is not all, the Premier League now hosts some of the best managers in the world right now. The likes of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte, Jurgen Klopp, Mauricio Pochettino have all had the chance to showcase their team’s talents and abilities in the league. With the new entrants, there is definitely a promise of more entertainment and competitiveness.
The Premier League clubs have been really poor and lethargic in the European games and are far behind the Spanish clubs who have outright dominated the Champions League in the past decade or so. The quality of the football in the Spanish, Italian and German leagues are much better than the English league. But there is no denying that the PL offers things that the other leagues only occasionally offer. Excitement, entertainment, rush, value for money and time. The fact that the lower clubs of the table give the top clubs of the table a run for the money itself makes the league matches so much more exciting. Perhaps the fact that the league in itself is so much more exhausting in comparison with the leagues in Spain, Italy and Germany might be the reason the PL teams find it difficult to go the distance in the UEFA Champions League.
Only time will tell if the English clubs can do something concrete in the Champions League. But for now, the league returns and personally as a football fan, I can’t wait to tune into the matches every weekend and get my dose of televised football.
The league begins on Aug 12 as Arsenal FC face Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium.