Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Is English Football More Focused On Entertainment Than Ever Before?

This season has seen an unprecedented level of high-scoring ‘big’ matches in such a short space of time. This borne out by the fact that the average amount of goals per game is 2.97, compared to 2.59 this time last year.

We have witnessed Man United’s 8-2 humiliation of Arsenal at Old Trafford, and then the Red Devils got a taste of their own medicine as the ‘noisy neighbours’ of Man City thumped them 6-1.

Already we had probably experienced more excitement for one season than is medically advisable. Chelsea and Arsenal then took it upon themselves to set the football pulse racing even higher.

A 5-3 victory for Arsenal at Stamford Bridge is probably not what most blood-thirsty pundits were hoping for. This was supposed to be the season Arsenal were imploding beyond control – when Wenger’s faith in youth, or perhaps more importantly entertainment, finally came apart at the seams.

Instead, Chelsea, so long robbed of their creative freedom by Mourinho (although who are we to argue with his record), were now giving as good as they got in terms of passing, movement, and shots on target. They got egg on their face, but Andre Villas-Boas has the right idea. He must know that his side will become more fluid, and more able to carry out his orders in time. Let’s hope he gets that time.

This season is perhaps one where the “playing not to lose” mentality has gone out the window. Unless you are Alex McLeish or Tony Pulis.

Three Premier League clubs once managed by Sam Allardyce are now playing football that is rather more pleasing on the eyes. Newcastle are doing it with great success; Bolton and Blackburn less so. Even their current relegation neighbours Wigan are playing attractive, but not effective football.

Even another glance towards the top sides shows us that they strive to win with flair. Barcelona’s much-applauded philosophy probably finally hit home with their 3-1 demolition of Man United in the Champions League final.

Admittedly, Sir Alex’s boys probably took it too far, and quite naively too against a savvy Manchester City side. They reverted to type with a ground out 1-0 win at Everton, but I have a feeling Fergie will not be dissuaded from creating another young and pacy title-winning side.

Even the promoted sides have hit the ground running through a commitment to fan-pleasing tactics. Swansea and Norwich in particular have both impressed me greatly – the Canaries very unlucky not to beat Liverpool at Anfield last month.

I can only hope that chairmen don’t get nervous after an eight-game winless run and sack the men that helped put a big smile on my face. Would they really rather the likes of Gary Megson?

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