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Football

The English Premier League: The Best League Competition in the World?

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The English Premier League: The Best League Competition in the World?

There are many convincing arguments as to why the English Premier League (EPL) should be considered objectively the best league in the world.

Competition

It’s very hard to argue that the EPL isn’t the most competitive league in the world. This was illustrated perfectly when little Leicester City, who were highly unfancied at the start of the competition, went on to actually lift the title in the season of 2015-16. This is perhaps an extreme example, something that only happens once in a blue moon, but the fact remains, when watching the EPL, you get the feeling that any team can beat any other team on their day.

Top players

Unlike the other major leagues in Europe, no matter which club you follow, the chances are that you will get to watch top international players ply their trade. For example, the EPL supplied 74 players for Euro 2012. That was almost 20% of the total number. The German Bundesliga came in second with 48, La Liga and Serie A managed 32 and 31 respectively.

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TV Coverage

The EPL is watched by hundreds of millions of people globally. The matches are broadcast live in approximately 200 nations. The income from these overseas TV revenues is inevitably huge, but what sets the EPL apart from most other leagues is that these funds are distributed evenly amongst all the clubs. The only other league that does something similar is the Bundesliga. In Spain, the cash goes to the clubs with the most TV exposure. No prizes for guessing that the main beneficiaries are Barcelona and Real Madrid!

Stadia

The top 10 clubs in the EPL all have top level home grounds. Old Trafford (AKA ‘The Theatre of Dreams’), Anfield and the Emirates all can boast of facilities that other nations would be jealous of. Even Tottenham Hotspur, who failed to make the Champions League and now play their European football in the Conference League, have a brand new state of the art stadium. Looking even further down the league, even relatively lowly clubs have large modern stadia and great playing surfaces.

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Goals

Although the EPL doesn’t have the highest goals per game ratio in Europe (the Dutch Eredivisie takes that honour), it could perhaps be argued that it’s the quality of the defending that ships so many goals in that division. In the most recent seasons, 1,023 goals were scored in the EPL at an average of 2.69 goals per game. In La Liga 942 were netted at an average of 2.48 per game. So with the possible exception of the Netherlands, the EPL is the place to see goals.

Atmosphere

The atmosphere of the EPL is second to none. The energy, anticipation and colour created by the fans, even of the so-called smaller teams is something to behold. This is something that is not necessarily replicated across Europe and it’s another thing that makes the EPL special and probably the best league in the world.

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Ranking

It’s official! After 9 years the EPL is now rated the best league in the world according to UEFA. La Liga had held this title for almost a decade, but after Manchester United’s victory over AS Roma 6-2 in the Europa League, the EPL is now the best league according to football’s governing body in Europe.

So is it the best league in Europe?

There are counterarguments for naming the EPL the undisputed king of European football leagues. Firstly, do the very best players on the planet play in the EPL? The answer to that question has to be a resounding ‘no’. Sure, many top players, as previously mentioned, play week in week out in the EPL. However, it could easily be argued that the very elite of the modern game tend to sign for clubs in other major European leagues. There are many examples of this. Lionel Messi, the most gifted player of the modern era, chose to spend his entire career at Barcelona. Even Christiano Ronaldo left Manchester United to pursue a career in Spain and Neymar plays in Paris, alongside Kylian Mbappe (although there is a rumour that he might be moving to Liverpool).

There is also an argument that the Premier League is overhyped and over-advertised. The suggestion is that if other leagues were marketed to the same extent then they too could be considered ‘the best leagues in the world.’ Combine this with the fact that (with a few notable exceptions), not many EPL clubs have lifted the Champions League and you perhaps have some basis to suggest that the EPL isn’t the best league in the world.

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