It’s hard to underestimate the power of the English Premier League, especially in the US. Stereotypically, Americans fear the fruitful form of football that Europeans love, preferring to stick to our own brand of entertainment. The EPL changed everything.
Even Americans are in love with the fast-paced, unpredictable nature of the game, whether it’s Man City and Liverpool clashing horns or Burnley and Watford. Sadly, Pep Guardiola and his merry men have gone some way to tarnishing the division’s reputation in recent years. Does this make the Citizens bad for the brand?
The unpredictable nature of the league makes the Premier League brand exciting. Unfortunately, for supporters, Man City’s performances are taking that away. A quick analysis of the odds proves it beyond doubt, with the latest football betting odds ranking the current champions as the –2000 favorites to win it again. Essentially, barring Liverpool’s triumph during the 2020 season, it’s Groundhog Day every day!
In England and Europe, this isn’t an issue, since there are several narratives to keep the fans engaged. After all, not everybody supports City or the top four. The relegation battle is just as interesting. The same doesn’t apply in the US for two reasons. Firstly, we’re very elitist (relegation doesn’t exist usually). Secondly, soccer struggles to compete with baseball, basketball, and American football.
Without the element of competition for the main prize, it’s possible US Premier League fans might get bored with watching Pep Guardiola’s squad dominate every annually. When other sports have the uncertainty factor – Formula One won over North American viewers because of the tension – the EPL will miss out.
Forcing the Game to Evolve
Searching for ways to evolve is something Guardiola does constantly. The high-pressing, one-touch style played today by most of the top clubs results from his success at Barcelona. Well, he’s found another way to cause havoc – playing without a recognized striker.
Now that Sergio Aguero has left, Gabriel Jesus is the only candidate. Still, he mainly lines up on the left- or right-hand side of the front three. From Phil Foden to Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, midfielders usually take turns as the focal point of the attacking trio. And it’s working very well, even though people assumed it would fail.
In the second half of the 2020/21 season, the Spanish coach took the False 9 position to new levels, and City were better for it as a result. They’re doing it again this season, regardless of the fact Silva is their number one contender for the top goalscorer award at +5000. The approach is on top of his previous records, such as winning back-to-back titles and accumulating 100 points in a season.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) November 10, 2021
What’s Good for the Goose
Guardiola won’t be around indefinitely. At some point, he’ll leave City and look for another challenge, as he has done throughout his career. When he does, the Premier League will lose an element of its brand it won’t get back, one the manager has added during his time in England.
Don’t get it twisted – the Premier League will continue to be successful. It might also regain the title-chasing drama it has lost since 2018. Of course, people tune in to watch how City will break records, and that could all change post-Pep. They certainly won’t do it with the same panache.
With this in mind, the Premier League and its fans should cherish the man while they can. We’re viewing history in the making, which isn’t a statement you can make every day.
Man City’s domination isn’t ideal for the Premier League. On the flip side, who doesn’t enjoy watching masters of their craft at work?