Re: UEFA Champions/Europa League 2012-13 Thread
I often find the Premier League and La Liga have basically switched:
Back in 2004-2006 when Mourinho was at the healm of Chelsea it was pretty much their league to lose with the likes of United and Arsenal being good but terribly inconsistent and well off the pace. Even when United had a rebirth after the 2006 World Cup it still felt like Chelsea were the only side consistent enough to challenge them, although Arsenal the season after came close for a good 3/4s of the season.
Compare La Liga at the same time, and whilst Madrid or Barca generally were still favourites, Valencia especially were a threat for the title, and the likes of Deportivo, Sevilla, Atletico, Villareal really had a knack for gaining victories regularly over the top two. I mean these days either Madrid or Barca would be lucky to lose 3 games in the league, but only a few seasons back they could easily lose 8/9 games over the course of a season and whilst it was shocking on paper, the more you studied each season the less of an upset it became. I remember Deportivo had that astonishing stat in terms of consistent home wins over Real for a good 8/9 seasons straight, and Sevilla at home seemed to continually get the better of Barca and Madrid whilst Atletico had a particularly strong record at the Nou Camp with Torres in particular always causing Barca problems.
Now whilst the likes of Bilbao, Valencia and occasionally Atletico have their moments, the gap between the top two and the rest has really widened. Whereas in the Premier League the likes of Tottenham, Newcastle, Everton and City have all progressed and really started becoming bigger threats to the traditional trio of United, Arsenal and Liverpool. Both Arsenal and Liverpool are now in a bigger fight for European football when only a few short seasons ago it seemed inconcievable that they would be strongly threatened by one team let alone 3/4. Even the smaller clubs like Fulham, Villa and Stoke etc started to pick up more and more points against the bigger clubs on a regular basis, and there's really a feeling now in the Premier League that there really isn't an easy game: heck the rise of West Brom from a team who used to be up and down into a solid mid table/possibly higher club should be proof of how the Premier League has slowly become a more unstable league in terms of consistency.