With a full house expected at Wembley stadium on Saturday for the clash between England and Spain, the majority of fans will concede that the Spanish national side is the best in the world at the moment. They are expected to beat a relatively poor England side, but is their league the best in the world as-well as their national team?
With Barcelona; the current European and Spanish champions; leading the way in stunning, one touch football for the past few years, nobody can argue that they are the best side in the World at the moment and perhaps of all time. Real Madrid who are currently top of La Liga are starting to form an equally impressive team under Jose Mourinho and the pair of them could well be the best two teams in Europe currently, and the teams to beat in this year’s Champions League.
However, aside from the two El Classico sides, the Spanish top division is lacking in quality and competition, a definite contrast to the English Premier League, where it seems anyone can beat anyone on their day. The battle for the title in England is between at least five teams this season and it is hard to pick between Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham for the top places.
Valencia and Sevilla, closely followed by big spending Malaga are the main clubs sitting in behind the big two in Spain, but are still miles away from being competitive for a league title. As a keen watcher of Spanish football, week-in-week out I am surprisingly bored of watching the top two comfortably ease past their opponents seemingly every week, even if they do not have it all their own way from time to time they will be the top two come May. That is a point that is disappointing for football fans, knowing the final positions of teams before the season has even started.
The attacking football of La Liga is clear to see, but the domination of two clubs is boring and the style of the Premier League does include stylish football along with a physical edge and the complete package in my opinion.
The strength in depth at Manchester City; is far superior to Barcelona who fortunately but perhaps not by coincidence; seem to travel through season after season without injury problems to key players, something that is far more common in the Premier League. City would be able to field two different XI’s and still be competitive in both the Champions League and at domestic level, something that no other team in the world would be able to do.
The English Premier League is often criticised as being overly physical and unattractive and perhaps only a handful of teams should be tarred with that brush as most of the football I have watched this season has been captivating and exciting. Perhaps defending is getting worse but when Manchester City slaughter their rivals on their own ground and Arsenal dominate Chelsea at Stamford Bridge it keeps you guessing as to who can beat who and by how many.
Both Manchester clubs and Chelsea will be the Spaniards biggest challenges for the Champions League this year, and it will be a fascinating watch as the groups games come to an end and the knock series begins. However, there is one key reason why I feel the English top flight is superior to La Liga and that is the loyalty of the supporters and the passion in the country.
Looking at the facts and figures of the attendances and travelling supporters around the country, it is clear to see that English football is the more popular, regularly selling out their home grounds, a vast difference to La Liga. In Spain only two teams fill more than 90% of their stadium for a home game on a regular basis, compared to ten out of 20 teams in England reaching that figure. On average the stadiums are bigger in Spain but more people watch English football each season live than in Spain. Barcelona and Real Madrid are on Sky every week without fail and this could be a problem for teams to make the effort of travelling to watch them.
It is not only the big teams that have an issue in Spain, three teams fill less than 50% of their stadium out on home games, a staggering statistic for top flight football in one of the biggest leagues in the world, in contrast to England where Wigan are the lowest sellers in the Premier League with 68%.
The Spanish league has two top sides, the Premier League has at least four or five, anyone can beat anyone in the English top flight and the supporters will flock to see their beloved teams from all over the country and that is why the English league is superior to La Liga.