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Primera Liga reasserts pre-eminence

European Football
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In April, journalist Luis Martin in the Spanish newspaper El Pais claimed the Premier League had become the most competitive in Europe.

Martin presented a powerful case, using evidence from a distinguished series of witnesses.

There was Manchester United's manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who argued the presence of three English clubs in the Champions League made the Premier League the strongest in Europe.

Next in the witness box was former Real Madrid coach Vicente del Bosque, who said: "I don't think right now there is a more spectacular team than Manchester United in the whole of Europe.

"And I don't think Chelsea are a defensive team; they knocked Valencia out of the Champions League by attacking."

Chelsea's former Spanish defender Albert Ferrer, Middlesbrough's ex-Spanish midfielder Gaizka Mendieta, Everton's Basque midfielder Mikel Arteta and former Real Madrid and Bolton star Fernando Hierro all stepped forward to provide evidence of the respective strengths of the Premier League.

Powerful stuff, but they conveniently forgot one small point - how predictable the Premier League has become.

True, United and Chelsea provided us with a modicum of interest last season but nothing as compelling as the entertainment served up by Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and Valencia in the Primera Liga run-in.

Just how interesting is a league where only two teams compete for the title and where clubs turn up at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge and are happy to rest players because they are expecting to lose?

The same applies to clubs who go to Liverpool and Arsenal solely intent on putting 10 players behind the ball, hoping to escape with a draw.

Over the last few years in England the relegation struggle has become more compelling than the race for the title. What does that tell you about the Premier League's competitiveness?

On Sunday Real clinched the title with a 3-1 win over Real Mallorca, a scoreline that does not tell the real story of just how close Madrid came to throwing away the Spanish crown.

Mallorca, who finished this season in 12th place, had several key players missing but still dominated the first half, had hit the post before they took the lead and missed a gilt-edged chance after the break that would have put them 2-0 up.

If Mallorca had taken that chance it is questionable whether Real would be celebrating their 30th title.

At times, Mallorca, with some inventive football, made Real look distinctly ordinary before Jose Antonio Reyes' introduction turned the game in Madrid's favour.

In the penultimate games of the Spanish season Real Zaragoza also gave Real a mighty shock before Ruud van Nistelrooy rescued his side with a stoppage-time equaliser.

Similarly, Uefa Cup finalists Espanyol, who finished the league in 11th place, did the same to Barca, coming away from the Nou Camp with a last-gasp goal to snatch a draw.

Surely that is the test of a league's strength, when you are never quite sure which team is going to win a match. Can you really say that about the Premier League?

Latest 10 comments

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posted Jun 22, 2007

i agree that the premiership is overrated but its rapidly catching up on the la liga. Sure clubs in la liga are superior technicaly but the only reason la liga was more competitive this year is the bigteams like real madrid & barca have not preformed to the their usual standards hence other teams were able to get in the mix.

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posted Jun 22, 2007

"comment by youngy9

posted Yesterday

i think that Ruud van Nistelrooy's season has proved that the premiership is better than the la liga. he has scored 30+ goals this season in the la liga but in his last season with united he was nothing like he is now."




He scored 25 goals in La Liga this season and only played a handfull of games under Sir Alex last year and correct me if I'm wrong but Van Nistelrooy scored around the same amount if not more in 2 seperate seasons in the Premier League , so get your facts right before you try to get involved in a debate mate.

Hala Madrid :-D La Liga is easily the better more exciting league, England has to many dull 0-0 draws.

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posted Jun 22, 2007

it's just nowhere near as good - there's actually no worthwhile debate - it's simple, the premiership is better - FACT

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comment by KENAGS (U3715050)

posted Jun 23, 2007

La liga is the better of the two for it is tougher and more technical than the English Premiership. An evident example is the just concluded la liga which kept every lover of the game in suspense until the last match. Any of the first three teams in the la liga could have won the championship on that last day of matches.

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posted Jun 23, 2007

" La liga is the better of the two for it is tougher "

Is that why most of 'em who play in that league can't stay on their feet for 5 minutes at a time when they play in Europe? <doh> <laugh>

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comment by joec76 (U8798902)

posted Jun 23, 2007

The Spanish League is far superior to the Premiership, but its not alone. Alex Ferguson stated that the fact 3 english teams made it to the semi finals of the Champions League, showed that the Premiership was the best league in Europe. But only 1 English team made the final and they still couldn't compete with European flair. Plus i think the fact that Henry has moved to barca proves that the best players want to play for the best teams.

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posted Jun 23, 2007

" 3 english teams made it to the semi finals of the Champions League, showed that the Premiership was the best league in Europe. But only 1 English team made the final "

Well of course at least 1 English team would be knocked out in the semis, as 2 English teams played each other! <doh>

Henry has spent the best years of his career in the EPL ... now he's winding down and wants an easier life .... hence his move abroad <laugh>

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posted Jun 28, 2007

A good way to look at the standard of the premiership is to look at the top 2 teams, and a match between them eg the FA CUP Final - Now if anyone can argue that that game was entertaining I would have to reccommend a appointment with a psychologist! La Liga teams play the entertaining football, premiership teams grind out results.

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posted Aug 4, 2007

the premiership is ofcourse the strongest whith two english teams in the semi-finals

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posted Aug 4, 2007

There are no premiership semi finals

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