“What a surprise!”
Recently, I had a discussion about the competitiveness of the English Premier League in comparison to Spain’s La Liga.
I don’t deny that in European competition, Spain has definitely had the edge of late. English teams have been disappointing. But I feel no weird nationalistic shame because of this, much as I take no weird nationalistic pride when Man U or Liverpool (and did Chelsea get one too recently?) win anything in Europe. I’m not a fan of European football. I only watch it for the Heineken adverts, to be honest.
No, that’s not what I was talking about, not the inter-competitiveness of the two leagues; I was referring to the intra-competitiveness. The weekly bread and butter stuff that gets those teams into Europe in the first place.
And for that, there’s – if you’ll excuse the expression – no contest. Because each and every week in Spain looks like this:
Barca, Real and Atletico winning by four, five and six clear goals respectively. “¡Qué sorpresa!”.
Unless of course you like that kind of thing. If 3 matches each week with lots of goals but wholly predictable results are your thing, then great: La Liga is your church. But some of us want more than just wondering who’s going to finish fourth each year.
Yes, the EPL had its “Big 4”, but it’s now actually a “Quite Large 6” and it could even be extended to an “Above Average Size 7 or 8”. None of those 7 or 8 clubs is guaranteed to beat any other on any given day. Especially not by 37 goals or anything. That’s what makes it so exciting.
Compare that with Spain where there’s a massive gulf between the Big 3 clubs and everyone else: the last time anyone other than those three finished in the top trio was 5 years ago, when Valencia scraped into 3rd. It’s a three-way dominance which makes La Liga so very boring.
Look, I mean, I’ll watch it if I’m desperate. It’s still football, but jeez: I do actually have to be literally desperate. A live La Liga match will even lose out to Total Wipeout, and that’s shit.
If you enjoy La Liga – aside from those six competitive matches they have each season – do you also take great joy in watching Germany playing Gibraltar and stuff like that? Pleasure in seeing Southend Girl Guides Second XI away at Bayern Munich? Rapture at anyone versus Sunderland – utter non-contests?
People are strange, hey?