Monday, August 16, 2010

English Premier League: Season Kickoff and Slight History Lesson Part 1

The English Premier League is the best in the world for soccer.  The best players come from everywhere to play in this league, who beats out La Liga (Spain), the Bundesliga (Germany), Serie A (Italy) and Ligue 1 (France).  The league is home to legendary teams such as Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.  The teams play 38 games a season and the season runs from August to May.  In the EPL, the bottom three teams get relegated (dominated, or demoted) to the Football League Championship.  It would be like the Kansas City Royals got sent to AAA baseball and the Toledo Mudhens got moved to MLB.  Obviously, the three top teams in the FLC move to the EPL the next season.

The top 3 teams in the EPL get to go on to the UEFA Champions League (All the best clubs in Europe get together for this, with the top teams playing each other for the championship.  32 teams total go)  with the 4th team being able to qualify with playoffs.  If you like parody the EPL is not for you.  Since the current league started in 1992, 4 teams have won the league.  4 all time.  Manchester United, Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers (once) and Arsenal.  And you can almost count that Chelsea, Man U and Arsenal will finish in the top three.  Most teams battle for the 4th spot or to avoid relegation.  Last year that 4th team was Tottenham Hotspur.  Everton are the Oakland A's of soccer, not spending a ton of money but sticking to a system to stay competitive.  Plus signing Landon Donovan.  Manchester City are the New York Mets.  ManU (the Yankees)  are in town and always win, and ManCity spend a ton of money and try to catch up.  It is a lot like baseball but far worse when it comes to who wins.

There are many good US players in England.  Clint Dempsey (AKA the rapper Deuce) plays for Fulham, Landon Donovan played for Everton (may go to Chelsea or ManCity), Brad Guzan for Aston Villa (who might get US Men's coach Bob Bradley to take over for them), Jonathan Spector plays for West Ham United (the team in the excellent soccer hooligan movie "Green Street Hooligans", a must see) and Tim Howard plays goalkeeper for Everton.  More Americans play in the other 4 leagues.

Soccer teams in Europe have awesome nicknames, because they go to a different naming system then the US.   Soccer teams also play in some of the coolest old stadiums in the world, like Stamford Bridge for Chelsea and Old Trafford for ManU. Fans usually fill the stadiums pretty well, with tens of thousands of fans coming to every game.  The teams have a transfer period in the middle of the season, where teams can sell or loan their players to other teams.  This can happen all over the world, like when Landon Donovan went from the LA Galaxy to Everton.  Training camps get started in July, where teams come over here to destroy our league teams.

The top goal scorers last year were Didier Drogba for Chelsea with 29, Wayne Rooney for ManU with 26, Darren Bent for Sunderland with 24 and Carlos Tevez for ManCity 23.

If you want to watch some EPL action, its on ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3, FSN Detroit (when I get back from classes its sometimes on) and FS Soccer.  You can usually catch multiple games a week if you really track down game times.  Most games are played on Saturday or Sunday, with some during the week.

Next I will look at each team this season with a little write up on each.  I'll do in reverse order of finish in the Weston Corbitt Soccer Power Index (WCSPI or phonetically We-sc-spy)


  1. The Big Reds will be contenders this season. With Gerrard moving up front to play with Torres, goals will be scored.

  2. I agree. They will put up some big offensive numbers.