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Why English Premier League remains destination of choice

Friday, 28 October 2016


By Tunji Faleye

Why is English Premier League (EPL) so important? What makes Premier League match days full of excitement and the stadia electrifying? The world over, every weekend is not complete without watching Premier League matches especially derbies among THE BIG FOUR and others aspiring top four teams thanks to disruption caused by Leicester City following their emergence as the 2015/16 EPL champions.

No doubt EPL is a culture, a religion and a business that is fantastically packaged to the whole world - a culture because it has become part and parcel of the English society. It is also a religion to the fans globally due to aura that takes them to the extreme, while it generates jobs for other people who get paid, smile to the banks while investors make more money each passing day on the floor of the London Stock of Exchange.

Serious efforts such as packaging, infrastructure and the standard of football artistry exhibited by players on the pitch have made EPL what it is today. Interestingly, EPL stands above the major leagues in Europe when it comes to market value. For instance, while the market value of EPL stands at 4,82 billion euro, the next to it is Spanish La Liga with 3,53billion euro; Italian Series A  comes third with 2,68 billion euro, German Bundesliga follows with 2, 51 billion euro while French Ligue 1 stands at 1,51billion euro.

Apart from the market value, the calibre of coaches joining EPL clubs is outstanding starting from Jose Mourinho who joined Manchester United after he was sacked following a turbulent campaign at Chelsea last season. Their bitter rival Manchester City hired Pep Guardiola, another first class coach who has the best record at Barcelona till date. Not only that, Jurgen Klopp also joined the fray by settling for Liverpool job last season from Borussa Dortmund, while Abrahamovic hired Conte to resuscitate Chelsea from their 2015/16 Premier League poor run.

This has made EPL to become destination of choice for many players who ply their trade in Europe. For instance, this season alone, an army of first class players signed for one EPL club or the others. Leading the pack was Paul Pogba who completed a record transfer fee worth 110 m Euro from Juventus as the world’s costliest player. Arsenal also signed Mustafi for 41million euro from Valencia and Lucas for 20 million euro from Deportivo La Coruna.

Similarly, Chelsea coach Conte bought some array of first class players including David Luiz, Batshuayi, Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina and many others. The same goes for other clubs in the EPL. The fact remains that in spite other leagues in Europe attracting huge fan base, none of them is best compared to the large following EPL enjoys globally. From the younger to the older generation, men and women alike, they all sleep and dream EPL.

Also, while it is quite easy to predict which club will win a particular match week in week out in other leagues due to bigger clubs’ dominance, it is a different ball game in the EPL as smaller clubs usually beat the power house every season. A typical example is the success of Leicester City emerging EPL champions last season. This 2016/17 season, stoke City almost beat Chelsea thanks to the brace from Diego Costa who helped the Blues to get away draw.

From all indications this is not common in other leagues as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid, Sevilla, Villareal and Valencia do dominate the league every season in La Liga.  It is the same story in the German Bundesliga where Borussa Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Shalke O4, Munchegablash, have dominated their league, while PSG, Monaco, Marseille, Lyon, Bordeau are holding sway in Ligue 1.

Last season in EPL, Leicester City changed the tradition of the Big Four to prove a point that any club can win EPL with dedication and the right tactics. Seeing that, clubs like Bournemouth, Hull City, Sunderland, West Brom, and some other small clubs will also have high ambitions to prove themselves as contenders. This will make the battle for EPL pretty exciting with fierce competition making every league game an enthralling encounter.
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