The Evolution of the Premier League

by The Good Life on December 3, 2012

in Football, Rants, Swansea City FC, The Good Stuff

Well yes.  Its been called that before and it will be called that again at some point, but really this weekend, it did once again fulfill this tagline.

I know I used this shot already, but seriously this is one of the greatest shots I have seen in football.  Just the emotion on the fans faces, and what it means to them, Michu scoring his first against Arsenal.

This season has been quite the season so far.  It seems that the once solid clubs in the top 4 seem to be in a race to mess things up for themselves.  Arsenal who were one of those, seem to be in meltdown, despite still having solid foundations which will see them right for years to come, Man Utd, also one of the heavyweights are still top of the league despite having the worst midfield in over a decade, with Ryan Giggs, Carrick, Scholes, Anderson all giving it their best, but up against the shadows of Keane, Ince and Robson, they dont even come near close.  They are shipping goals at a rate of knots and its only thanks to their 4 world class strikers that they can beat seemingly any team in the league.  Swansea face them at the Liberty on Dec 22nd, and that could be quite the game if both teams form continues as is currently.   Man City seem pretty decent and solid, but arent really ripping up trees, however will still be around the top come the end.  Scott Sinclair who went there hasnt hardly played, and people wonder why the England team is in tatters?  Because English players hardly ever start games for their teams.  Its only really Hart, Cole, Caulker, Rooney who are regulars week in week out.

Chelsea seem to change managers at the rate Man Utd concede goals and have pretty much thrown away their title attempt under Di Matteo, because of 3 bad results (1 of which was against the Swans again) and now have a manager the fans dont want, and it seems the players dont care much for either, unless your Fernando Torres and then you like him, but he has lost form anyways so maybe they will both leave back to Spain hand in hand end of the season when Lukaku returns from West Brom or Drogba comes back like a Sylvester Stallone type character to rescue Stamford Bridge.

Once mighty Liverpool are trying to turn their fortunes around but have the turning circle of a 1973 Volvo estate, and Brendan Rodgers seems unable to sign a striker to help Saurez.  He will get it right but he needs time and a bit of money.  It does seem that he has become somewhat of a master of the qoute recently with a few of his gems.  And also a TV star.

Spurs are doing well now, which will keep a good few friends happy and its good as they play good football but there definitely seems to have been some kind of sea change over the last year or two in the premier league.  No longer are teams coming into the league and spending money like its going out of fashion.  There have been a few surprise packages this year.  I suppose normally the top 6 would look something like this Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool.  But this season there have been a few teams making real inroads to the top.

Everton led by their very hairy belgium attacking midfielder Maroune Fellani have been playing really well, ably assisted by Nikita Jelavic, Leighton Baines and Leon Osman amoungst others.  They are playing as a team, with cohesion, believe and desire to win.  Those things dont cost anything, they just require a good manager and a club moving in the right direction.  They havent spent huge money on players, I suppose Jelavic is one of the biggest signings at 5m, and they are wisely treading their path ahead and I am happy to see them up there.

Another team who have been making leaps and bounds is West Brom led by Steve Clarke.  Now they have been in the premier league for a couple of seasons, and have been playing solid under Roy Hodgson, yet he went the way of England and Clarke has come in, done some very shrewd business in the transfer window by signing Lukaku another furry Belgium, who is a great striker and most Chelsea fans must be scratching their heads wondering why he isnt at the Bridge right now, and they are stuck with a 50m misfiring flop.  Again, much like Everton, West Brom arent spending huge amounts of money, they are running their club well and taking the right steps when needed.  Much was made of Roy Hodgsons stabling of the ship but probably most acclaim should lay with Dan Ashworth their chairman (who also went to England) who got the club on the footing its got now.  West Brom have been playing very well and are comfortably top half, and loving life.

Another club who I would bracket in Swanseas in terms of size and resources is West Ham, with Big Sam at the helm.  They have had a cracking start to the season and FairPlay they absoloutely hammered Chelsea second half on Saturday.  Great to see a newly promoted club doing so well.  I suppose it shows that for some clubs the best thing is to go down and come back up rejuvenated and refreshed ready to go.  There are a few big clubs flirting with that possibility right now, who have been stalwarts of the premier league in the form of Sunderland and Aston Villa.

Norwich also deserve huge credit for their start to their second season in the premier league.  They lost their manager in the Summer who wanted a “bigger” club and went to Villa, and most probably will get relegated with them, meanwhile his old club Norwich will be readying themselves for their third season in the Premier league.  Norwich again, led by a careful owner in Delia Smith et al, are going about things slowly but surely not trying to break the bank to stay in the league even though the reported 60m on offer for staying up this year will be worth it.

You very much see a pattern here emerging.  The traditionally slightly bigger clubs, seem to think the only way to solve a problem is to throw money at it.  Liverpool, 105million on Downing, Carrol, Henderson and Suarez.  Add Joe Allen in and make it 120m.  Chelsea have spent millions yet are still way off the top of the league, and the best example of all QPR signed every player available who was a) rubbish b) overpaid c) past it and are now paying the price for that.  If Harry Redknapp gets them out of this, he will need a medal.  Its funny as everyone says how well Harry did to get Spurs out of the trouble a few years back, but the team he inherited did finish 4th two years running it was just a bad start to the campaign.  Anyways, people love him, so good luck.

But I suppose all I am saying is that its so refreshing to see smaller clubs coming into the premier league not going bankrupt to stay in the league, and giving the bigger clubs a run for their money.  Using local business owners as people holding the purse strings we might not sign Torres for 50m (thank god for that) but we might well sign a Lukaku on loan, or a Michu for 2m.  There are far too many examples in Leeds United and Portsmouth of clubs who werent run properly and eventually it caught up with them.  Lets hope if Palace make it up this year they follow the same example.  I suppose having seen what Swansea have been through only 10 years ago, it is still fresh in our minds that the fall from grace can happen so quickly you should remain on a firm financial footing at all times.  As I say, we might not be challenging for the league spending 10 million at a time on players but after all, only 1 team wins the league a year, and what happens if Abramovich leaves Chelsea, the glazers asset strip Utd or the Sheikh owning Man City walks away?  There is so much debt and high wages that without someone ultimately bankrolling them, they could be in trouble.  They do have the brand value etc which sells shirts around the world, but how long does that carry on if your team gets relegated?  Ask the mighty leeds fans how many shirts they sell in Asia now……

And so onto the Mighty Swans.  I know you might read my blog, and think I rattle on about football too much but if something captures the imagination so well, why not….  10 years ago this week, we were bottom of the 92 clubs I read this weekend so for Americans reading this we were 4 whole leagues off the Premier league let alone the worst in the lowest league!  This week we beat Arsenal by outplaying them!  Its dream stuff really, and I can only relish what the rest of the season will bring.  Michael Laudrup has created quite the team, by adding to our stalwarts Leon Britton, Ashley Williams, Michel Vorm and Nathan Dyer by bringing in Chico Flores the wild haired defender, Ki sometimes reffered to as the Matrix as he has the ability to slow down time, Pablo Hernandez who has become one of the most exciting wingers in the league and of course Michu, the joint top scorer in the league, all for less than what Liverpool paid us for Joe Allen, all on less wages than Gylfi Sigurdsson wanted for joining.  Fantastic bit of business.  Plus he has managed to get Wayne Routledge scoring goals, and brought Ben Davies from our Acadamy to regular in the Premier League.

Our game has changed to more exciting, more counter attacking, and all this without really a proper striker upfront actually scoring.  If we had that aswell just in front of Michu we would be a serious top 8 contender….  Yesterday, was a great game as was the control the Swans displayed against West Brom, and also Newcastle and Liverpool in the Cup before that.  Its quite a time to be a Swansea fan, as I imagine it is to be an Everton, West Brom, Norwich or Newcastle fan aswell.  I say enjoy it whilst its here, we dont know how long these players, manager will be here, but for everything until now thank you.  Thank you Brendan Rodgers, Thank you Paolo Sousa, Thank you probably most of all to Roberto Martinez thank you also to Kenny Jacket and Brian Flynn before for getting us where we are now.  We salute you all for your part in our history, and thank you for allowing me to watch my team in the Premier League.

One very happy member of the Jack Army.

I found this link to the goals, with a crazy commentary.  Its definitely worth a watch.

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