Wenger downplays Liga: Remain in the Premiership

“Is the Spanish league a step down? Of course. I watched Real Madrid and Almeria last night . . . and you want to switch off after half an hour. It’s not watchable!”
Wenger’s words might be a shot across the bow to Fabregas and La Liga’s latest transfer target, Gael Clichy but it also happens to be true.
There is a gulf between Barca and the rest of the Liga. Even Real just a few points behind does not quite measure up looking quite pedestrian at the Bernabeu last week in their Clasico loss.
Sevilla, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Villareal have been thoroughly outpaced by these two clubs. And with unsettled finances, they look distinctly uncompetitive.
In contrast, it is still quite tightly packed at the top in the Premier League with just a month left in the season. Liverpool have fallen off. City and Spurs have closed the gap considerably and Everton’s wins against Chelsea and Man Utd mean that no club enjoys a lopsided dominance.
With Chelsea and Man Utd and its crop of older players showing signs of wear and tear and needing replacement, the race for the Premiership might be a wide open affair next season. We might see a record in transfer fees.

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3 comments on “Wenger downplays Liga: Remain in the Premiership
  1. It happens to be bullshit. Saying that it is “not watchable” discredits him completely. Wenger is just bitter from the shellacking he received from a team that outplayed the hell out of his boys in both legs.
    Yet Barcelona drew 2-2 at Almeria just a few weeks before. Same result Barcelona has at the Emirates? And you’re trying to make fun of Ameria now? Nice one, Wenger. Maybe it’s also because they want to take your best player and bench him.
    La Liga is different. The football is more open and flair is encouraged, and sometimes even required (why did Real Madrid sack Capello?). Heavy challenges are not tolerated.
    These things have obvious downsides (diving, weak defending) but the upsides are there, too. Even the games between small clubs are rarely dull, with end to end action almost guaranteed even if one team wins by a big margin. The big games are simply electrifying and dramatic.
    Is it a two horse race? Yes, it has been like that for the past few years, and the last time a third team won the league was in 2004. But guess what? The same thing goes for the Premier League. When was the last time a team other than Chelsea and Manchester United won it? 2004.
    But let’s not forget that in 2007, when the head-to-head record decided La Liga for Real Madrid after the tie in points against Barcelona, Sevilla were very much in that race until they drew and lost the last two matches. Had they won those two games it would have been a three way tie.
    Back to the EPL. How many times did we see a different top 4 in the last 6 years? The last time we saw 2 of the big four out of the top 4 was in 1996. The last time we saw a champion other than Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United was in 1995. La Liga has seen 5 different champions in the same period.
    So don’t give me Wenger’s bullshit about the “watchability” of La Liga (it is as entertaining as the EPL, if not more so), or the notion that only two teams dominate it (because 3 teams dominating is not much better).
    While I agree that the EPL is currently the better competition, I assure you: La Liga is not far behind. And it is very, very watchable.

  2. I agree with NSider’s comments. I would add that this is simply a ploy to keep Fabregas from re-joining the club he grew up with, Barca. I too watched Real-Almeria and enjoyed the 2-1 victory for Real, a beautiful solo run and finish by CR9 for the first goal. Lots of open play and ball movement. In addition, Espanyol played Barca to a nil-nil draw today, making it possible for Real to close within one point if they can beat Valencia and David Villa at home tomorrow. That’s exciting, not boring! Its funny that of the top EPL teams, Arsenal probably comes closest to a Spanish style of play, but now he is dissing that style to try to keep Cesc. Just a couple weeks ago, he was dissing the EPL and the refs for the dangerous play that is allowed. So, what league will you choose next to whine about, Arsene?

  3. Brian, NSider
    I see your points. Yes, Wenger’s concern is primarily to keep Fabregas in the Premiership. One way to do it is to make statements that downplay the Liga. So he makes these judgments on the quality of the game. But I think he is quite accurate about the present competitiveness of the EPL. Today’s results against Chelsea and Arsenal is illustrative of that fact. It is getting crowded at the top. However, one does not see that in the Liga because Barca and Real with their squads and unlimited transfer fees are running away from the rest. That is not to say that Valencia with players like David Villa and David Silva or Sevilla with Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo have no talent but it is the depth in Barca and Real that sets them apart.

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