The Spanish Armada in the EPL
There is little question that Spanish football dictates the beautiful game these days. The national team is on a roll of three consecutive major trophies, while Barcelona is the most formidable club team for years now. The Spanish players have developed a signature style of play, based on fine technique, perfect control and exquisite passing.
Commercially and financially, however, the English Premier League is the most successful football competition. Barcelona and Real Madrid may be the two richest clubs, but on a league-wide basis, EPL revenues dwarf the money generated by La Liga. English football has become a global product and has significant presence in new growth markets, especially Asia. Furthermore, every now and then there is a new super-rich owner who acquires an English team and readily splashes out to acquire some of the best players in the world.
So if Spain has the best product and England has the most money, it is simple economics that there is a significant influx of Spanish players in the Premier League. A lot of the major teams in the league have Spanish player and in all cases that adds a signature style of class and technique.
Champions Manchester City rely heavily on the creative talents of David Silva in midfield. The Spanish maestro is the conductor of the team and without him the attack just does not have the same spark. He has been injured for a big portion of the season so far, and this has been the main contributor to City’s somewhat shaky and less glamorous performance, and the four point gap to leaders Manchester United.
What Silva brings to the Manchester City offense, Juan Mata brings to Chelsea. After helping the team its first Champions League victory last year, the midfielder has been involved in pretty much every good thing they have created this season. In 28 appearances so far in all competitions, the midfielder has 12 goals and 15 assists, so he has created a goal in every game he has played. There was much speculation that new summer signing Eden Hazard will take a lot of the work Mata is doing for the team, but the Belgian has been a lot more subdued this season and Chelsea is very much Mata’s team.
The Blues also harbor another top Spanish player in Fernando Torres. Although much has been said about his offensive struggles in London, he has netted 13 times in all competitions this season, already more than in the entire last season. There are signs that El Nino might on his way back, but a lot will depend on how things develop in the January transfer window for him and his club.
Chelsea’s London rivals Arsenal have also added a Spanish jewel to their midfield this season. Although the Gunners are not having the best of seasons, Santi Cazorla has shown moments of brilliance. The most telling was probably last week, when he scored a hat-trick against Reading to put Arsenal back on winning ways. If Arsenal are to rebuild and achieve success in the post-Van Persie era, there is no question that Cazorla will be the main building block.
Spanish maestros are not just limited to the richest of clubs. Miguel Michu has set the Premier League alight with 14 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions this season for Welsh side Swansea including last night’s goal against league leaders Manchester United. For many, Michu’s extraordinary exploits came as a major surprise, but not to those who closely follow La Liga. He has the top scoring midfielder last season with 15 goals, and he achieved that with lowly Rayo Vallecano. As there is obviously no place for Michu in Barcelona or Real’s star studded midfields, the Swans were prudent enough to reach out and bring him to the EPL. This was a big testament both to La Liga’s ability to generate talents and EPL’s ability to attract them.
All the above points end up in one ultimate conclusion for a debate which has been going on for a long time. People who compare Messi and Ronaldo bring up one statement to support the Portuguese that he has proven himself in England against tougher oppositions and a league which is far more difficult than La Liga and that Messi has not done it.If Messi can do it in Spain, then why not in England
This debate is an everlasting one and there may not be an answer to it, but i just came to one conclusion. If players like Mata, Cazorla, Silva and Michu can perform really well and have been the major reason for their club’s success, why can’t a player like Messi be successful in England ?