Say what you want about the English Premier League (many have, recently and in the past, called it “crap”), but the fact is that QPR’s well-won battle with Arsenal demonstrates quite plainly just how volatile (in the good sense) the EPL still is—despite big spenders, old guards, and rumor mills. In fact, Arsenal’s recent winning run proved the same just as well, as did the rise and fall of several other teams in the middle of the pack.
Trying to follow the EPL from the fifth position down to the last has been like trying to chart something that, well, moves up and down frequently and erratically (after a few beers nothing jumps to mind). Everton, Fulham, Swansea, Norwich, Stoke, and even Newcastle have all led seasons best read on a Richter Scale; the peaks and valleys have been so mercurial that each week the table seems radically different than the week prior. Newcastle, for example, has been 10th, 3rd, and 7th this season. Everton has been 18th, 8th, 14th, and now 7th.
While many (including myself) have, perhaps rightly, criticized this season or highlighted its many disappointing moments, I think there is enough upward mobility, to use a classist euphemism, to make it worthwhile. Sure, United is bound to win yet another title, but in the process we’ve also been given breaths of fresh air, such as the Anfield Cat and Swansea City.
These bright spots have been enough to offset the tedious title race, if we can call it one, the numerous racism controversies, and the dreadful embarrassment that has been Liverpool (so, so sad). Swansea alone has made this season worthwhile for me.
In the EPL, few teams are safe. At the very least, that’s more than one can say about other top leagues. And yes, this season has provided much fodder for disgust, but it has also provided some great stories about small clubs making the most of their resources, and, more importantly, it has fostered an atmosphere where, late in the season, QPR can give Arsenal an unpleasant surprise. While Premier League teams have stumbled as ambassadors in international competitions, internally the league is competitive (not as competitive as it could be, but still), and that, at least, seems to be enough for now.