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Best. Premier League. Ever… ?

October 18, 2009

 

The Ballon d’Or shortlist was announced on Sunday, but what about the Ballon de Plage? Liverpool’s inflatable nemesis must surely get a category of its own in the end-of-season awards.

Sunderland’s absurd winning goal at the Stadium of Light was symbolic not just of Liverpool’s woes but of a season that just keeps rattling along in ever more gloriously unpredictable style.

Here are a few reasons why this might just be the best Premier League season ever, or at least for quite a while.

1. Big Four? What Big Four? The worst thing about the Premier League, everyone said before the start of the season, was that you could always predict the top four. I wouldn’t put much money on it being the same old same old this time. Liverpool look especially vulnerable after losing four games already this season but the others have had their unconvincing moments as well.

2. Vaulting ambitions. Manchester City have serious aspirations to make the Champions League and there are a few others hoping to join them. Tottenham look to have a new confidence about them after spending a lot of money, and most of it wisely, and Aston Villa have beaten Liverpool and Chelsea.

3. Goals galore. Arsenal have scored 27 goals, conceding 11, in eight games and they are only fourth. Liverpool, for all the problems that have seen them slip to eighth place, have bagged 22, while conceding 13. At the same stage last season, Arsenal had scored 16 and conceded six, while Liverpool, top at the time, had scored 14 and conceded six.

4. Greatest. Upset. Ever. Burnley beating Manchester United 1-0 at Turf Moor in their first home game back in the top flight in 33 years. Who would have predicted that?

5. Hardly any draws. When England’s league introduced three points for a win back in 1981 the idea was it would inspire a lot more risk-taking by teams. It was slow to catch on elsewhere but eventually the rest of the world came round and 28 years on we are seeing the benefit. This year, we’ve had 10 draws. At the same stage last year (more or less) we’d had 19 of them. 

6. Wigan Athletic. And Sunderland. And Stoke City. And Burnley (again). Roberto Martinez is back at Wigan, now as coach, and he’s stuck with the ball-playing philosophy. It hasn’t been totally successful — just look at the Hull defeat — but they have beaten Chelsea and are winning a lot of admirers. Sunderland can point to even better results, reward for playing two up front even against the best, while Stoke continue to be utterly fearless at home and Burnley like to pass it as well.

So what do you think? Best. Premier League. Ever? Let us know in the comments.

Oh, almost forgot. Reason number 7. We now know what happened to Nena’s 100th red balloon. (Or beachball, if you prefer). Altogether now… “Hast Du etwas Zeit fuer mich/Dann singe Ich ein Lied fuer Dich/Von 99 Luftballons…”

PHOTO: Sunderland’s Darren Bent (R) shoots to score against Liverpool, October 17, 2009. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

Comments

Always had a soft spot for Blackburn’s title win in 1995 myself. Tthe phrase Jack Walker’s Millions brings back a lot of memories.

Posted by rayman | Report as abusive
 

Before the start of the season, Arsenal was the team I worried the most among those in the ‘Big Four’. Now it seems Liverpool is well, you know.’Who would have predicted that?’Certainly not me. Not even this Manchester United supporter here! ;)’Altogether now… “Hast Du etwas Zeit fuer mich/Dann singe Ich ein Lied fuer Dich/Von 99 Luftballons…”’Damn it, Kevin. Now I have that song stuck in my head! :P

 

It depends what one’s interpretation of best is. The closest and most exciting in many years yes, but not necessarily the best in terms of quality. I dare say the latter stages of the Champions League this season will reveal that United, Liverpool and Chelsea aren’t as strong as they have been over the last few years. Reasons: a) Ronaldo is gone and although Fergie had little choice but to let go a wantaway player on 175 grand a week, Ronaldo has left a huge pair of boots that no one can fill. The other reason is that Ferdinand appears to be over the hill. b)Chelsea have too many players over 30 who can’t produce the kind of consistency they’ve been able to under Mourinho and c) Rafa has lost the plot and his transfer decisions reveal just what a mediocre manager he is.On the other hand, Tottenham and City, especially the latter, have improved beyond recognition as Kevin said and Arsenal indded look like genuine contenders this time.

Posted by Zoran | Report as abusive
 

Ah yes Blackburn. That may have been the best end to a Premier League season (unless you happen to be a United fan … but even them you can afford to be magnanimous, I suppose…)

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive
 

I was always a fan of the 2003-04 season myself, those invincibles were amazing

Posted by Polly | Report as abusive
 

Sorry, Diana. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head either … since about five past three yesterday.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive
 

Hi Zoran. I agree the quality has probably gone down a little but it’s still not bad. And it has definitely improved the spectacle. I wonder if Ferdinand will be able to get it back together to anchor a Champions League bid.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive
 

Apologies accepted regarding Nena’s song.And regarding the season when Blackburn won the league, I actually did not follow football that closely like I do these days. As a young schoolgirl then bothering with schoolwork and exams, football was only something I talked about if my father starts talking about it. So no hard feelings from me as a United supporter. :) I only started to support the club much later.

 

Kevin, it’s far from bad – as you said it’s gone down a little bit and the specatcle is great – which amounts to the most exciting title race in years, so your points are completely valid.To answer your other question, I think Ferdinand is past his peak and I also think winning the CL is beyond my beloved United this season.

Posted by Zoran | Report as abusive
 

It might be the greatest Premier League ever, but for any Liverpool fan, it is turning into a nightmare.Btw, did we get the real Glen Johnson or does he have a twin brother ?From what I have been seeing, he is really, really bad. The worst ever ?

Posted by Julien P | Report as abusive
 

Interesting, Julien … An evil twin… Have you thought of writing for a south american soap opera?

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive
 

For me it is anyway (right now) as my Wolves are back and staying off the bottom (all that they realistically achieve right now.) But up top is exciting, and I’d keep an eye on Sunderland and Bent too.

 

I agree with Rayman

Posted by Kristal L. Rosebrook | Report as abusive
 

I’m with Rayman too. If this season finishes like this one it may go down as the best but there’s a long way to go and suspect by the end we’ll be back with the same top four.

Posted by Jimbo | Report as abusive
 

I still could not believe that the sheiks are coming and spoiling everything. Buying players left and right. Take the case of Man City, they have a lot of players bought but still could not get over the hump and defeat Man United. I hope that there would be a cap on the spending to ensure player loyalty. I predict that Liverpool will be dislodged from big 4 status this season and replaced by Tottenham. It would still be Man united, Arsenal, Chelsea on top.

Posted by Luis | Report as abusive
 

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