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Monday, February 19, 2007

The best league in the world

Yes, TDH has had a chance to compare a bit in the past few weeks, having resubmerged in the football-centric world that is Buenos Aires and Argentine television. And without a doubt, the original is still the best when it comes to association football.

In no other league are so many mid-table teams worth watching. Bolton, Spurs, Fulham, Reading and even our dear Magpies bring plenty of excitement to the pitch. TDH found the recent FA Cup and Premiership ties particularly tasty - full of action, speed, strength and even the occasional miraculous finish. Three of Spurs' four goals today were better than anything TDH had seen in Spain or Italy lately. And the scoreline still flattered them.

Despite, or perhaps because of, The Special One's apparent quest to prove that the galactico system works just as poorly in London as in Madrid, there's a genuine title race on. And the excitement and quality continue well down the table. Almost anyone - well, except Watford - can win on a given day.

Watching other leagues, TDH always gets the feeling that most of the players strolling leisurely around the pitch would either be 1) squashed or 2) outrun by their counterparts in the Premiership. It takes a very talented fellow indeed - a Berbatov, an Essien - to make the jump.

TDH tuned in to see El Kun on show at Sevilla today, and it was clear that a bit of robust defending could often disrupt his willy-nilly runs. Having gorged on Aaron Lennon earlier in the day, TDH was left wondering: if you could pick either of the two today, whom would it be? It'd be a tough one for TDH, but Lennon's combination of quickness and power - even without Aguero's creativity and extra years of youth - would probably win the day. What do you all say?


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

finally, the popup loads!

The premiership is the strongest league at the moment, but the only valuable comparison to make is of CL clubs. English clubs are unique among important leagues in giving a damn about the UEFA cup. So far this season, the managers or owners of both Palermo and Siena have said that they don't mind if they get knocked out, as it gives them time to prepare for the important league games. In fact, the Palermo owner said he wished that they would get knocked out.

That said, England has a way to go before it's as strong as the mid-late '90s Serie A, when Parma was fielding one of the best teams in the world - who still weren't good enough to crack the top three. That team was stupendous - Zola, Tino Asprilla, Chiesa, Dino Baggio, Thuram, Canna, Buffon... and it goes on. Add the class Fiorentina we had back then (Batigol, Rui, and the like) and it was a proper league with about six truly world-class sides. And full of amazing characters, like Bam Bam Zamorano (whose reaction to losing the number 9 was to change his number to 1+8).

6:43 AM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

sorry, Livorno said they'd be happy to get knocked out, not Siena.

6:45 AM  
Anonymous Palms said...

I'd agree. Whereas now, the English league is most likely the best in the world, it is not by much. The mid 90's Serie A is probably a European benchmark, in the sense that it seemed that it was the only place to be for a top footballer. It had an astonishing roll call of stars, as well as being home to the best european side of all time (AC milan). I believe Sampdoria had a tasty side as well, with Gullit, Platt, Mancini etc (and Des Walker). Not forgetting Gazza at Lazio as well.

Oh and the palermo coach proably only said that after the mighty Toon had given them a pasting...

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Palms said...

I meant, of course, the early-mid nineties Milan was the best European side of all time, not the current one. Honestly, 6th place, how rubbish is that? Gilardino's dive was brilliant on wednesday though. Almost as good as Henry's against Wigan.

8:51 AM  
Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

oh, man, don't get me started on Gilardino. I was so excited when we signed him, but my god, does he suck. I'd score more goals given the same service. He's pathetic. He's so low on confidence he'd sooner fall over than shoot in a one-on-one. thank f**k we've signed a real striker finally.

Don't forget Samp also had the brilliant Lombardi. Even Torino were a damn good side then.

12:14 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Yeah, I remember texting Mara in the middle of the night when the Gilardino news came down the wires. Ah, how things have changed....

I think the fact that Barca couldn't even hold Liverpool in their house speaks volumes about the quality of the leagues. Equally that Roma couldn't score against Lyon. Are Lyon really that good? I thought they were coming off a particularly bad stretch.

Did anyone see the Inter v Valencia match? Sounds like it was the only one besides Barca v Kop that was worth watching. Porto v Chelsea was rubbish after the first half - that Sheva goal was a trademark strike, though you could argue the keeper shouldn't have been wrong-footed to the wide side of the goal. Real v Bayern was damned entertaining, putting aside my prejudices against both teams. I fancy Bayern to take the tie....

And by the way, harking back to those old Italian teams, let's not forget about Roma's all-strikers squads with Batigol, Delvecchio, Totti, Cassano and Montella.

Also, going further back with Parma, we must recall the Argentine contingent that took over that team: Sensini, Veron and a young Crespo.

3:03 PM  

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