The Premier League’s unique selling point has always been the fact that it has been fiercely competitive. Indeed, proud fans of England’s top-flight have been known to crow about the one-sided Bundesliga where Bayern Munich would seemingly have the league won by the time anyone had put their Christmas trees up.
Alternatively, if it wasn’t the Bundesliga in the crosshairs of English fans, it was Ligue 1 which is referred to, somewhat unkindly, as a ‘farmers league’ by those north of the Channel.
In fact, an entire article could be dedicated to the humorous yet undoubtedly condescending tone that Premier League fans have had towards other leagues in the past. The great irony, however, is that the Premier League could itself be in danger of turning into a league that is short of any genuine competition. You only need to look at the latest football odds and the outright market of the Premier League to understand this better after Manchester City were priced at just 4/7 to win their third title in a row.
Lack of Competition Yet to Sink In
It should be said that, right now, there isn’t an overwhelming sense of concern among fans regarding this eventuality but perhaps there’s an argument to be made around the fact that supporters haven’t yet grasped the severity of the situation. At least, for the last few decades, fans have always expected the reigning champions to be dethroned or for a dynasty to never go on for too long. The stark reality now is that the situation may not be as clear-cut when considering that Man City continues to recruit the best talent on the continent.
Indeed, the Cityzens are well placed to defend their title after an eye-watering summer spending spree that included the recent purchase of England Player of the Year Kalvin Phillips from Leeds United. Simply put, there isn’t a better squad in the Premier League, or indeed Europe, which is a sobering thought if you were hoping for an evenly contested showdown in the English top-flight this season.
First time wearing City blue out on the pitch 💙 Thanks for all of your support tonight 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/gx1dwcdUn5— Kalvin Phillips (@Kalvinphillips) July 24, 2022
If City were to win, it would be, as briefly touched on, a hat-trick of Premier League titles but also, five league successes in six years. The uncomfortable truth is that this is reminiscent of the goings-on in Germany and France, and even Italy when Juventus dominated for a decade. Put another way, the Premier League is slowly being robbed of its integrity when it comes to healthy competition and the future predictions don’t provide the succour we might hope they would.
Wealth Driving Change in Premier League
Essentially, the world of sports is amidst a takeover from wealthy states in the Middle East who are buying up teams and leagues to shake up the status quo and improve their own international images. We can see that going on with professional golf as Saudi Arabia robustly sets about trying to implement a new tour for the world’s best players. In football, we’ve seen the state of Qatar take ownership of PSG and, in the Premier League, we’ve also seen the Saudis invest in Newcastle United, whilst the ruling family of Abu Dhabi have put their money into Man City.
In essence, these investors won’t run out of money anytime soon, which means, in football’s case at least, that good teams will only get better as they can keep reinvesting in playing personnel.
A bottomless pit of money that enables Man City to keep its stranglehold on the Premier League is a dreadful proposition for a well-balanced league that always produces a different winner. This, however, is the current reality for England’s top-flight, and it may take some getting used to.