By Tony Attwood
Last year on 4 August we published Andrew’s analysis of European football which showed the correlation between winning the league and having the most valuable squad in the league.
Following this Untold predicted who would win six European leagues, and we got them right. Those leagues were the Premier League in England, and the top leagues in Scotland, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.
Now I admit it was a bit of a close run thing in Germany, but still we got all six right.
There were some comments that what we were doing was hardly difficult – and indeed in many ways that was the point. It was not difficult.
But my point in running this piece was that it really ought to be much more difficult if football is to retain its attraction. Being able to predict six European leagues and get them right is bad enough. But there is every chance we can do it again.
Indeed when Leagues get to the point that they are set up in such a way that a group of amateurs who watch football for fun, can simply predict the winning club of six leagues at the start of the season, surely that suggests that the leagues are in trouble.
Now in response to this, some people suggested that this was how it had always been, but I beg to differ. Figures from the EFS website do show five clubs occupying the top three slots in the league across three time frames: Liverpool get in there once, as do Manchester City. Chelsea and Manchester United get in the charts twice, and Arsenal are the only club to be listed in the top three in all three time settings. Meaning Arsenal’s position at the top table really is established and secured across time.
|Period||Top club||Second placed||Third placed|
|All time||Liverpool||Manchester United||Arsenal|
|Last 10 years||Chelsea||Manchester United||Arsenal|
|Last 5 years||Manchester City||Arsenal||Chelsea|
It is an interesting calculation given that the whole premise of the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal movement is that we are going backwards! But in the last five years we have got the second most points. (Although if I may add before anyone else does, points are not a trophy.)
These calculations are based on the number of points gained in the top division during the period, not the number of trophies, and of course some people will want to count trophies nothing else.
So let’s do that:
|Club||League titles||Last title||FA Cup wins||Last FA Cup||Total major domestic trophies|
|15||Preston North End||2||1889-90||2||1938||4|
Arsenal stand second for major domestic trophies across time. But also we must note that quite a few teams in this list have not won anything in the 21st century, which given that we have had 20 seasons concluded in this century, is quite a long time.
Tottenham are the most notable here, having won neither major domestic trophy since 1991. Liverpool are not quite so far off the pace having last won the league in 1990 (it will be the 30th anniversary of that if they don’t win it this year) and the FA Cup since 2006.
In fact only four teams have won the league this century, which is perhaps a lower number than many people think.
So maybe we are now quite as competitive as we like to think.
Anyway, to repeat last year’s successful run of winners in six leagues across Europe, and to emphasise my view that things are now rather stuck and not going anywhere, I am going to suggest that the same teams as won the league last year will win it again this year.
- England: Manchester City
- Scotland: Celtic
- France: PSG
- Spain: Barcelona
- Germany: Bayern Munich
- Italy: Juventus.
Real Madrid have had a net spent of £162m this summer – and it may go up further and so could challenge Barcelona. Inter have a net spend of £103m. These two could pose a challenge in their respective leagues. But otherwise I suspect more of the same.
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