On a weekend where much of the football world had their eyes fixed on La Liga to watch the gigantic tussle between the Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, the English Premier League once again stole the show. Prior to El Clasico, the match between Arsenal and Chelsea may not have been a great advertisement for the Premiership, but it did show the quality of the league as a talented Gunners team were easily brushed aside. And while Barca-Real was a great spectacle with Argentina star Lionel Messi at his dazzling best and plenty of other world class players on show, in the Premiership Hull City’s Jimmy Bullard brought a smile to everyone’s face that makes the Premier League what it is. None of the Premiership fixtures could live up to the quality at the Nou Camp, but for sheer fun the Premier League came out on top once again. So which is a greater spectacle, the Premiership or La Liga?
The Premier League match between Manchester City and Hull at Eastlands last season remains one of the most iconic moments of the 2008/09 Premiership campaign. 4-0 down at half time, Hull manager Phil Brown conducted his team talk on the pitch and it became a major talking point, with many pundits criticising Brown for doing it. 11 months later following Hull staying in the Premier League by the skin of their teeth, it was the rematch and Jimmy Bullard smashed home a penalty. Then in a moment of pure genius that had obviously been planned before hand, Bullard and the Hull team re-enacted that dreaded moment in one of the best football celebrations of all-time. It was written in the stars that the honour would fall to Bullard, and to be fair Brown took it pretty well. And it is players like Jimmy Bullard and moments like the one at Eastlands that I think make the Premiership the best league in the world:
Over in Spain arguably the biggest match in the football calendar took place yesterday in what was the most expensive football match to date, with Barca hosting the Galacticos. Three quarters of a billion of football talent was on show, but for all the money spent by Real Madrid, they still couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net despite Kaka’s best efforts. For Barcelona their captain Carles Puyol was the most influential player on the pitch, saving 3 great goal scoring opportunities, whilst Zlatan Imbrahimovic scored the all-important goal in a 1-0 win. But it was Lionel Messi who was by far the most skilful player on the pitch, as the little Argentine showed why at the moment I believe he is comfortably the best player on the planet. I would love to see him in the English Premiership, as his trickery is out of this world and surely Argentina are a threat at the 2010 World Cup with him in their team. But whilst the Premier League may not have a player of Messi’s ability, La Liga isn’t all its cracked up to be.
Back on Sunday the 22nd of November I caught the La Liga encounter between Real Zaragoza and Malaga on Sky Sports. That match has to be one of the worst examples of football to show to youngsters I have ever seen, as the encounter was full of play-acting and unbelievable ill-discipline. While it may have been funny to watch, players were falling over left, right and centre to try and get their opponents sent off, with diving for penalties and rolling around on the floor happening all too often. But worst of all, Malaga’s Apono spat directly into the face of Andre and the game became a farce as the referee had no chance of controlling footballers who to say were acting like school-children would be unfair on the youngsters. Is this a common occurrence in La Liga or did I just happen to catch the worst example of it?
In a direct comparison between the Premier League and La Liga, the Premiership may not quite have the level of quality that is found in the Spanish equivalent, but I think that the overall level of skill throughout all of the English teams is slightly higher. Whilst El Clasico might be hotly anticipated, the Premier League has exciting encounters every weekend that help make it the most watched football league worldwide. But it is players like Jimmy Bullard and moments like that on Saturday that I feel edge the Premiership ahead of La Liga, as there are more characters in the English game. Maybe I am biased, but the majority of the time I would much rather watch the Premier League than La Liga for pure entertainment, but do you feel the same?