Is The Premier League Tougher Than It Used To Be?

Is It?


  • Total voters
    64

BigPoppaPump

Points Out The Obvious
Camus vs Abou

20140314160108532327c4ee0ec18054ca9b743691b16cd79ab6ac64e85.jpg


Yes this is from GOT/ASOIAF.
Yeah we all know it's when Robert Baratheon beat Prince Rhaeger at the Trident.
 

tcahill

Well-Known Member
I think it definitely is tougher than it used to be. As someone said earlier, mid table clubs now have the same purchasing power as top clubs in other leagues, and even our bottom clubs have more money than most.

Teams are winning the league with less points. I argue that this is due to the smaller gap in quality between the top teams and middle teams. Teams like Everton, West Ham, Villa, Wolves, Leicester Brighton on a good day can easily beat a traditional big 6 side.

There are also hardly any teams that are a guaranteed three points anymore. Back in the Wenger days any team in the bottom half of the table was basically cannon fodder for a big six club, whereas now upsets are far more common.
 

Emeryates

Professional Troll
I trust me eyes and memory when I say the league is tougher now. Ten years ago the big boys thumped smaller teams on the reg to a bigger extent than today
10 years ago, the big boys were United, Chelsea and City

Today, City, Liverpool and to a lesser extent Chelsea routinely dispatch the smaller teams as well

Fgs, we've had teams touch 100 points now, nowhere near that 10 years ago
 

TornadoTed

Well-Known Member
I don't think it is any better or worse, every team is fitter, faster and stronger but if every team is say 30% better than 20 years ago then the level of competition is equal. Of course the level will fluctuate a little and there will be natural lulls and peaks, strong seasons and weaker seasons but I just don't see a big level difference.

In the past the top teams battered the small teams, the small teams shocked the big teams, promoted sides struggled and went straight back down, promoted sides were a breath of fresh air and finished top 10, badly run big teams got sucked into relegation fights, minnows punched above their weight, the top strikers of the day scored 20+ league goals then and now etc.
 

bingobob

A-M’s Resident Hunskelper
Trusted ✔️
I don't think it is any better or worse, every team is fitter, faster and stronger but if every team is say 30% better than 20 years ago then the level of competition is equal. Of course the level will fluctuate a little and there will be natural lulls and peaks, strong seasons and weaker seasons but I just don't see a big level difference.

In the past the top teams battered the small teams, the small teams shocked the big teams, promoted sides struggled and went straight back down, promoted sides were a breath of fresh air and finished top 10, badly run big teams got sucked into relegation fights, minnows punched above their weight, the top strikers of the day scored 20+ league goals then and now etc.
That's a simplified outlook.

20/30 years ago players that broke through were big and strong. Enforcers took priority over talent. That's completely changed. The focus is on actual ability rather than ability to kick the opposition. It's not just a case of being fitter it's starting from a much higher level of ability as well.

The players will still fit somewhere into the pyramid. Some will still be better than others as was always the case. But the gap between the players has narrowed significantly due to a focus on footballing talent.
 

Makingtrax

Planes, Trains & Social Media Rants
The players will still fit somewhere into the pyramid. Some will still be better than others as was always the case. But the gap between the players has narrowed significantly due to a focus on footballing talent.
If the gap between the players has narrowed as some keep saying, why has the league been won with record breaking points totals over the last few years? 99 points, 98 points, 100 points, never been seen before. The gap is not narrowing.
 

dka91

Well-Known Member
I think this is a really complex question to answer, and even more difficult to prove and some factors are really subjective too which further complicates things.

I think what I will say is that as a whole everybody is better, I agree with TornadoTed in that respect.

If we use examples; you take the 17/18 till 19/20 period and the winners have had ridiculous points totals, what does that say? Perhaps the league is too easy, I mean when teams can finish with 100, 98 and 99 points at a seeming canter it does make a slight mockery of the league?

Or maybe the winners have been too good whilst the rest of the league is actually competitive?

Last season if we think to the top 4 race; even "floundering" teams like Chelsea and Liverpool (and they were still doing badly towards even the middle of the season) could still finish in the top 4.

But does it mean that reaching top 4 was easy? Maybe? Or perhaps it showed that many teams had potential to get into it as it was so competitive. You can frame it either way tbh.
 

Tomb Bombadil

Active Member
If the gap between the players has narrowed as some keep saying, why has the league been won with record breaking points totals over the last few years? 99 points, 98 points, 100 points, never been seen before. The gap is not narrowing.
But nobody had the ressources that City has. I mean even there bench is worth more than most teams in the league.
 

GoonerJay24

Well-Known Member
Compare the league now team by team from 18/19 to now. There is absolutely no way any reasonable mind comes out with any other conclusion than that it has improved. This is a kind of funny post. And lower point totals by teams at the top doesn't mean what you are trying to make it mean.

If that's your view then you obviously misunderstand how football works. Man City and Liverpool finished on 98 and 97 points respectively. There were only two points between Us, Chelsea and Sp**s all battling until game 38. I also think there was a better standard of coaches then compared with the two following seasons where the likes of Arteta, Solskjaer and Lampard have been in charge.
 

Oxeki

New Threads, Old Tweets
Compare the league now team by team from 18/19 to now. There is absolutely no way any reasonable mind comes out with any other conclusion than that it has improved. This is a kind of funny post. And lower point totals by teams at the top doesn't mean what you are trying to make it mean.
So you're saying the league became more competitive since 18/19?
So explain how is it that since that time we've witness one of the lamest top four challenge. At least in 18/19 the top four challenge was interesting. But nowadays, teams like Chelsea, united and Liverpool have a bad season and still qualify for the top four.

If the league is so competitive why have teams like Everton been unable to capitalize on Chelsea's, Liverpool's and Man utd's mid season collapse on the past few years?

Like said a few weeks ago, every team in the league benefitted from the TV money. So relative to other league, the league is now far more competitive. A midtable team can outspend other top teams from other leagues. But within itself, the league has largely remained the same.
 

Oxeki

New Threads, Old Tweets
That's a simplified outlook.

20/30 years ago players that broke through were big and strong. Enforcers took priority over talent. That's completely changed.
So why is there more emphasis now on the physical and tactical side of the game now compared to before?

Surely if the players we have now are more technical than the ones of the past era, surely clubs won't be signing more plodders? Liverpool is one of the best side in the world, yet their strength is not even their 'technical ability' but their superior fitness and their exceptional physical ability.
 

Ciscoo

Active Member
Most PL seasons have had standout teams. I'd be hesitant to read too much into points totals. You could argue it one way or another.

City's point totals are easily explained by their squad depth. No other team in PL history can compare to it. When they reach their top level, its ridiculously easy for them to sustain it in the league.

Liverpool got really lucky since all their best players were virtually injury free for two seasons. That's the difference with the best teams in the past.

I'd also say that as the league gets better, fewer teams are playing defensive 4-4-2s with long balls. It should be no surprise that when lesser teams play a more technical game, you get higher points totals. That's been the case in Spain for years. We've just caught up in that respect.
 
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dka91

Well-Known Member
True but it wasn’t just City, one was Liverpool. If players are all more technical and the gap between the top and lower EPL players has narrowed, then we shouldn’t be seeing records broken by the top teams.

Yeah, with City you could potentially explain it away like this:

City have sooo much more money than anyone else that they're permanently in a league of their own.

But crucially Liverpool also battered the league not once but twice, finishing with 97 and then 99 points. Now, Liverpool are a more normal team in terms of resources and yet were able to break those records which says a lot.

Again it's not a cut and dry to say the league is getting easier or harder, it's just you can't ignore that factor.

So you're saying the league became more competitive since 18/19?
So explain how is it that since that time we've witness one of the lamest top four challenge. At least in 18/19 the top four challenge was interesting. But nowadays, teams like Chelsea, united and Liverpool have a bad season and still qualify for the top four.

If the league is so competitive why have teams like Everton been unable to capitalize on Chelsea's, Liverpool's and Man utd's mid season collapse on the past few years?

Like said a few weeks ago, every team in the league benefitted from the TV money. So relative to other league, the league is now far more competitive. A midtable team can outspend other top teams from other leagues. But within itself, the league has largely remained the same.

Basically guys:

featured-graphic-2.jpg


Especially when comparing a period so recent as 18/19 to now.

I find it very hard to come to a such a definitive conclusion that the league is harder/clearly harder now (I'm talking strictly comparing the 18/19 period to now).

Especially as back then teams like Wolves, Tottenham were tough, much tougher than now and you remember Leicester in the 2nd half of that season were pretty tough too (they beat us handily).
 

blrgooner

Well-Known Member
If the gap between the players has narrowed as some keep saying, why has the league been won with record breaking points totals over the last few years? 99 points, 98 points, 100 points, never been seen before. The gap is not narrowing.
Fair point. But looking only at the 1st spot kind of misses the point though. The thing which most people are saying is that there are more mid table teams which are stronger. To try and look at this objectively, we can consider a hypothesis that here is that if mid table teams are stronger, they would get more points at the end of the season. The question that arises then though is what exactly are "mid table clubs".
Lets look at average points the teams have got from 2010-2017 and from 2018- 2020
If we consider the clubs finishing 5-6-7
Year/Average Points
5​
6​
7​
2010-17
68.3​
63.9​
59.0​
2018-20
66.0​
63.3​
59.3​

Its all pretty similar. I don`t think there is anything to indicate that teams which finish 5,6 and 7 are better or worse than before.
Now lets look at teams finishing 8-11

Year
8​
9​
10​
11​
2010-17
52.1​
49.3​
47.0​
45.8​
2018-20
57.0​
55.0​
55.0​
52.3​

Here we see a completely different story. Across the board, the teams here are scoring more points then they did before.
This is also because of the fact that these clubs have much more money to spend than before. The clubs finishing 8,9,10 and 11 finished with the highest points tally in the last 11 years last season.
Basically, I don`t think "mid table clubs" have necessarily gotten stronger. There are more "mid table clubs" though and due to this, the league has become tougher.
This is not an excuse to Arteta or Arsenal though because given our size and spending, we should be above most of the mid table clubs anyway. My expectation from Arsenal is that we should get 68/70 points this season. That should be enough for 5th or 6th place at worst.
 

Makingtrax

Planes, Trains & Social Media Rants
Fair point. But looking only at the 1st spot kind of misses the point though. The thing which most people are saying is that there are more mid table teams which are stronger. To try and look at this objectively, we can consider a hypothesis that here is that if mid table teams are stronger, they would get more points at the end of the season. The question that arises then though is what exactly are "mid table clubs".
Lets look at average points the teams have got from 2010-2017 and from 2018- 2020
If we consider the clubs finishing 5-6-7
Year/Average Points
5​
6​
7​
2010-17
68.3​
63.9​
59.0​
2018-20
66.0​
63.3​
59.3​

Its all pretty similar. I don`t think there is anything to indicate that teams which finish 5,6 and 7 are better or worse than before.
Now lets look at teams finishing 8-11

Year
8​
9​
10​
11​
2010-17
52.1​
49.3​
47.0​
45.8​
2018-20
57.0​
55.0​
55.0​
52.3​

Here we see a completely different story. Across the board, the teams here are scoring more points then they did before.
This is also because of the fact that these clubs have much more money to spend than before. The clubs finishing 8,9,10 and 11 finished with the highest points tally in the last 11 years last season.
Basically, I don`t think "mid table clubs" have necessarily gotten stronger. There are more "mid table clubs" though and due to this, the league has become tougher.
This is not an excuse to Arteta or Arsenal though because given our size and spending, we should be above most of the mid table clubs anyway. My expectation from Arsenal is that we should get 68/70 points this season. That should be enough for 5th or 6th place at worst.
Top post. I enjoyed reading it. Somebody finally thinking through an idea rather than just spouting the league is getting harder without any evidence.

My only concern is that your matching a 7 year average against a 3 year average, which worries me slightly. If you take for example the club finishing in 8th place your average 2018-20 was 57 points. If take the average from 2013 to 2016 the average is 57 as well. So we've seen that 3 year average before, it's nothing new. Whilst the top team plays all those teams below them and has been breaking records 3 out of the last 4 years. That is new. If mid table teams were getting stronger this shouldn't occur.
 

Makingtrax

Planes, Trains & Social Media Rants
Fair point. But looking only at the 1st spot kind of misses the point though. The thing which most people are saying is that there are more mid table teams which are stronger. To try and look at this objectively, we can consider a hypothesis that here is that if mid table teams are stronger, they would get more points at the end of the season. The question that arises then though is what exactly are "mid table clubs".
Lets look at average points the teams have got from 2010-2017 and from 2018- 2020
If we consider the clubs finishing 5-6-7
Year/Average Points
5​
6​
7​
2010-17
68.3​
63.9​
59.0​
2018-20
66.0​
63.3​
59.3​

Its all pretty similar. I don`t think there is anything to indicate that teams which finish 5,6 and 7 are better or worse than before.
Now lets look at teams finishing 8-11

Year
8​
9​
10​
11​
2010-17
52.1​
49.3​
47.0​
45.8​
2018-20
57.0​
55.0​
55.0​
52.3​

Here we see a completely different story. Across the board, the teams here are scoring more points then they did before.
This is also because of the fact that these clubs have much more money to spend than before. The clubs finishing 8,9,10 and 11 finished with the highest points tally in the last 11 years last season.
Basically, I don`t think "mid table clubs" have necessarily gotten stronger. There are more "mid table clubs" though and due to this, the league has become tougher.
This is not an excuse to Arteta or Arsenal though because given our size and spending, we should be above most of the mid table clubs anyway. My expectation from Arsenal is that we should get 68/70 points this season. That should be enough for 5th or 6th place at worst.
Been looking through the Premier League tables over the years and in the 90s it was quite common for the 8th team to get 60 points. 1994 8th 60, 9th 60, 10th 57, 11th 56 which is higher than last seasons. I'm not sure what conclusion you can draw from these mid table statistics, but very interesting.
 
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