Thursday, April 16, 2009

Europe? Meh. England Is Back On Top.

So we are down to the final four in Europe's biggest competition. United will play Arsenal and Barcelona will take on Spartak Laaaandon in the semis of the Champions League. So that's 3 of the 4 teams from England, and at least one English team is guaranteed a place in the final.

Spanish and Italian teams used to be so strong, but not any more. This will drive UEFA nuts!

This year's final will be the fifth occasion IN A ROW that an English side has been to the big dance. Surely there is absolutely no doubt that the rest of Europe now ranks waaaaaaay behind the standards of English football.

Arsenal's beat-down of Villareal, Liverpool's arse-kicking of Real Madrid, they point to not just better, but much better. The Premier League has been regarded as the World's Best League for quite a while, but now there is absolutely no doubt. It's head and shoulders above the rest.

But Bigus... ain't that down to plenty of foreigners in the EPL?

Hmmm. Good point me. Lets see shall we.

Arsenal are a foreign invasion but in Walcott, Wilshere and Gibbs, you have 3 English players ready to step up. Gibbs has already established himself as a back-up at left back this term.

Man U have Scholes, Hargreaves, Ferdinand, Rooney, Brown, Carrick, Neville, Foster, Martin and Eckersley.

West Ham have 8, Villa have 10, Everton 8, Spurs 13, Citeh 8, Boro 12, Wigan 9..You get the point.

While Chelsea and Arsenal have just 4-5 Englishmen in their squads and Liverpool just 2, it matters little. See, the rest of the league benefits from the experience playing these sides has to offer.

Just look at Bolton at Stamford Bridge last weekend. Or Hull at Anfield? While the quality of the Top 4 is clearly there for all to see and largely financed by big pockets, everyone is a winner and this is clearly evident when looking at the national team.

The England team is benefiting greatly from housing the best league in the World. The team is improved; unbeaten in WC qualifying and up to 7th in the World rankings. Players like Heskey, Lennon, Agbonlahor, Young, Barry, Crouch, Johnson, Upson, Lescott, Jagielka, Downing, Carlton Cole and a host of fringe players are flourishing in the EPL and reaping the benefits of such a high standard of football.

Upson: Benefits from playing the best Europe has to offer.

Spain, Italy, Germany?

Their domestic leagues are losing ground and need to do something before they fall too far behind. Spain may be European Champions but consider this: 5 of their best players ply their trade in the EPL (Reina, Torres, Arbeloa, Riera and Alonso).

As for the rest? They are on the way. Villa, Senna, Ramos, Capdevila and Silva are all sort after and available for the right price. Villa is set to break transfer records this summer. Valencia and Villareal are skint and its no secret they need the cash, so moves for Silva, Villa and Senna to Man City, Liverpool, United or Chelsea looks likely this summer.

The current dominance of English football will be driving UEFA and Michel Platini nuts. He hates England with a passion and wants to implement many rules to stifle the English game and level the playing field; no foreign owners and smaller squads are just a couple of his ideas.

He, along with FIFA duffer Sepp Blatter want to impose a 6 + 5 rule to English teams, guaranteeing 6 English players on every starting 11. While some in England see this move as a leveler to combat the influx of foreign talent as a great way to bring through English talent, I honestly believe differently.

To improve and flourish, you must play the best and prove yourself. The previous lack of young English kids coming through Premier League clubs says more about the youth structure, coaching and national initiatives than it does for the heavy competition.

Competition is the only way to go. And there is no better competition for places than in the Premier League. Capello sees it and England fans should be laughing right now. I know I haven't been this excited about the national team's prospects since... well, I can't remember.



Eladio said...

"Spain may be European Champions but consider this: 5 of their best players ply their trade in the EPL (Reina, Torres, Arbeloa, Riera and Alonso)."

And what, Fabregas is now from Malta?

Also, I'd use France's Ligue Un as another example of a league falling behind. At least, that's what I get from NYK's weekly posts.

Bigus Dickus said...

Ha brilliant. Forgot Cesc. Get In! I dont even consider France worth mentioning Eladio!!

Mike Georger said...

I would definitely not include Riera and Arbeloa on the list of Spain's best, as Cesc is already in there I would suggest Arteta as a replacement for one of those two.

Still, point taken.

Until Spain and Italy change their laws regarding young players signing pro contracts, they're going to continue to get fucked out of talent. When was the last time the next big English star signed with a Spanish team at sixteen?

EbullientFatalist said...

What's wit this whole "England subjugating the Continent" meme here at UF over the past two days? First it's the ManU-Third Reich juxtaposition (not entirely beyond imagination) and now England's shadow reaches Vilnius?

Mike Georger said...

They call him Vilnius Nastavnic, the "Vilnius Schoolmaster".

Bigus Dickus said...

@Georger. Its not fantasy selection mate. Just names of players that have played for Spain recently and feature heavily.

Ian said...

Great movie

The NY Kid said...

yeah, Ligue 1 has been falling behind for quite some time now. There are very few players still there who could play for an EPL squad (Benzema, ben Arfa, Gignac) and they are mostly strikers

EbullientFatalist said...

"We've lost one of our submarines."

(No Villareal.)

Nicole said...

Despite the fact that Hargraves plays for England, he is foreign born (Canadian). So he should hardly be counted, despite the fact that he has English roots.

Bigus Dickus said...

Nicole. Does he benfit from playing in the EPL (when he's fit) and hold an English passport? :)

Lennon's Eyebrow said...

@Georger: I wish more English youth would sign in Spain or Italy. As it stands, young English talent is forced to develop in the reserves or the Championship, which is not exactly known for technical proficiency.

Because the Championship is dominated by big cloggers rather than skillful players, there's not a lot of room for flair players to develop. I think young creative English players could be well served by a stint in Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, etc. But there seems to be an unfortunate reluctance for English players to go abroad, largely due to the lure of the EPL's dominance.

Nicole said...

Bigus. Fair enough, but by that definition, you will soon have to add Manuel Alumina to that list. He is not that far away from his citizenship, lol.

Bigus Dickus said...

@Nicole. Oh lord. No thanks. However, I'll take Arteta!

jjf3 said...

If history is any guide, and the financial meltdown turns out to be as bad as it seems to be, hey, we'll all be enjoying Ligue 1 and Bundesliga matches soon enough...

what, you aren't looking forward to a world where Liverpool, ManU, Real, and Meee-lan no longer exist, or are damn near shuttered down like Leeds?

maybe kidding...(keep your head up NYK, but, yeah, my parents stole the "Italian rifles, only dropped once" joke from the French version). The repercussions of this situation could get damn ugly...

Bigus Dickus said...

@Lennonseyebrow..Only 4-5 teams in the Championship base their games around giant cloggers and hoof ball. The rest play football and keep the ball down on the floor. The colaship gets a bad wrap without anyone really watching the likes of Swansea, Norwich, Forest, Wolves, Cardiff, Bristol City, all who play football in the right way. Only Preston, Watford and Palace hoof the ball.