A Beginner’s Guide to the English Premier League
The Premier League is back. The football gods are once again smiling upon all fans of the ‘beautiful game’ and everything is right in the world. That is, if you like football, of course. Unfortunately for those who aren’t fans of the game the arrival of the Premier League season often coincides with the arrival of endless water cooler football chat that can simply seem incomprehensible from an outside perspective. Listening to a discussion about Sean Dyche and his unhealthy obsession with the 4-4-2 is pure technobabble for many, and if you’re the type of person who grew up watching Casualty rather than watching Roy Keane put players into the casualty ward, then we’ve got you sorted with a helpful handful of tips and essential lad chat to help you survive this season.
Tip Number One: Everyone is over-priced.
The amount of money being spent on footballers nowadays is frankly getting a little ridiculous. Yes, inflation has had an impact but the eye-watering amount of money that Premier League clubs are receiving as a result of TV deals is enough to put Richie Rich’s absent father to shame. Complain about this a lot along with how cheap players used to be “back in the day”. People will probably agree with you and will make it seem like you’ve actually watched football outside of those 30 seconds you once saw of a ‘Neymar Jr - Skills & Goals - 2015/2016’ video on Youtube before you switched it off because of the tinny Aviici track it was accompanied by.
Key phrases to use:
“Can’t believe that Liverpool spent £34m on Sadio Mane. That’s about four Dennis Bergkamps!”
“Can’t believe that Manchester City spent £47.5m on John Stones. That’s six Dennis Bergkamps!”
“Now Paul Pogba’s good and all, but no man is worth £90m. How can he ever live up to that price tag?”
“Did you know that each of Radamel Falcao’s shots for Chelsea last year cost the club about £809,000? Madness, I tell you”
Tip Number Two: Manchester is red/blue (choose as applicable)
The Manchester United and Manchester City derby is one of the most anticipated games of this season. Not only does it have the heated local rivalry that has always caused friction between the two clubs, but there’s also the added drama this season of superstar managers Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola (previously of Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively) once again going head-to-head. We advise backing one of these sides ahead of the match and sticking with your guns throughout the 90 minutes. Even if your team loses, showing some sort of conviction with hopefully impress your mates.
Key phrases to use:
“I truly believe this City side will flourish under Guardiola’s control. He’s a great man-manager”
“I truly believe this United side will flourish under Mourinho’s control. He’s a great man-manager”
“I think Guardiola is overrated”
“I think Mourinho is overrated”
Tip Number Three: Have something to say about Leicester City
Leicester City, last season’s miraculous under-dog champions are tasked with the Herculean challenge this year of living up to their performance in the 2015/2016 season. Whilst some consider their win to have been a fluke, others are more confident in the club’s ability to remain a threat to the top teams. Either way we advise you to follow Leicester’s results and accommodate your remarks accordingly. They were talk of the town last year and having something to say about the team will doubtlessly help you out this year, as well.
Key phrases to use if Leicester are doing well again:
“Ranieri really inspires this team. I always knew they weren’t just a flash-in-the-pan”
“Jamie Vardy is having a party”
“Danny Drinkwater should really be getting an England call-up”
Key phrases to use if Leicester are doing poorly:
“I knew it was only a one-time thing. It’s going to be Blackburn all over again”
“Look at how shabby they’re looking in the midfield. They really shouldn’t have sold Kante”
“Jamie Vardy should have left for Arsenal when he got the chance”
Tip Number Four: Some things never change
Despite the Premier League often being touted as the most exciting and unpredictable league in the world. And let’s face it, it’s a damn sight more competitive than the Bundesliga (Bayern, again), the Serie A (Juventus, again), and the SPL (Celtic, again). But there are some things in the Premier League that will simply never change no matter how many years go by. These key phrases should help you get a handle of some of these traditions.
Key Phrases to use:
“Wenger really needs to open up the war chest and a sign a 20 goal-a-season striker”
“There’s no way West Brom are getting relegated with Pulis in charge”
“I don’t know where Tottenham will finish, but it won’t be above Arsenal”
“I don’t know where Liverpool will finish, but it won’t be first”
“Is Shay Given still going?!”
Tip Number Five: It’s not just a game
Sure, to some people football is merely 90 minutes of over-paid men chasing a ball around a pitch. But to others; football is more important than the upcoming election; football is more important than arguments regarding the death penalty; football is more important than Brexit. To some, football is the only thing that matters. Whether if it was the 2006 FA Cup Final or the last minutes of the Euro 2016 – the moment someone falls in love with football is a moment they will never forget. It’s the day you go down that impassioned rabbit hole of statistics and never come back out. Our final advice to you is to therefore give the game a chance: open your mind up to the possibility that you might be able to enjoy the wonder and spectacle of the sport, and well, you might just find yourself enjoying it. Just don’t start supporting Burnley. They’re genuinely awful.
Key phrases to use:
“Sh*t, did you see that?!”
“I bloody hate football”
“I bloody love football”