‘Boring’ Football Or Something New To Premier League?

So we are the new English champions. What an incredible season this has been and what an incredible feeling this is to be feeling like champions! However, if you are a supporter of some other club reading this article on a Chelsea fan site, we hope you had prepared yourself for there being no ‘glory glory’ this time for you, and ready to ‘walk alone’ yet again. Even if you are some irritating neighbor from North London, congratulations as it looks like you will finally be able to complete above your favourite 4th spot.

Chelsea are yet to recieve the trophy for winning the title, which came as a result of the 1-0 win at home to Crystal Palace. An interesting thing happened in our game against Liverpool, as the Reds gave the guard of honour to Jose’s men. No one is to say that Chelsea are undeserved champions, having stayed at the No.1 spot since the very beginning. Even West Brom Players acknowledged that much through their guard of honour if not the rest of the game. However, Blues’ recently adopted playing style and strategy has given rise to some criticism in the past few weeks. While some got irritated because they lost even after keeping 71 percent possession, some had an opinion that defending is an easy job. Defensive style of football has taken over the attacking one in our play, which we got to see in the first half of the season from the men in Blue. As a result of which, only 1 win in our last 12 games has been by a goal difference of more than one.

Until a couple of weeks ago, Chelsea with 69 goals, were just two behind the leading goalscorers Man City with 71 in race for the most goals scored by a team. Even after Chelsea’s thrashing at the Hawthorns, and City’s extravagant outings in recent weeks, only City have scored more than Chelsea, who are at 70 now. With both having just one game left, the title of leading goalscorers seems to be out of reach of the champions. One fact remains that Chelsea’s emphatic 2nd half comeback, in the 3-1 win away to Leicester, a couple of weeks ago: The home team had opened the scoring in the 1st half and thus ending the first 45 minutes with a 1-0 lead over the league leaders. Considering the recent form of their attack, it seemed next to impossible for Chelsea to still win the game. But the equalizer from Drogba kept them alive in the game, before a John Terry tap-in from a Fabregas corner put the visitors ahead. And just as the home crowd began the chants of ‘Boring Boring Chelsea’, a thundering outside-the-box strike from Ramires finished them off.

And also the fact that the Blues no longer have the pressure of winning the league, and can go into the remaining game with the mindset of champions. So it is possible that we will get to see some all out attacking football in the final fixture, which has been a rare thing for the West Londoners in their recent games.

Talking about the defending in numbers habit of Chelsea, probably that is what has made them outshine all other teams in the points table. Call it boring or parking the bus, the playing strategy adopted by Jose’s team has kept them at the top since day 1. And the opposition fans and teams finding it difficult to accept such a playing style in a league which has always been known for its fast and attacking football, is no surprise.

Even if they do defend for most of the time, they do it with perfection. There’s a reason why other teams which sit back in most games are nowhere near the Blues. Now talking about their attack, it seems that they do not deserve to be called ‘boring’.

Here we bring you a season by season review of all the 22 years of Premier League, having a look at the scoring record of all the champions in these 22 seasons.

1992-93 (Manchester United):
Sheffield United’s Briane Deanne scored the first ever goal of the Premier League. Manchester United, managed by Sir Alex Ferguson, are crowned as the first ever champions of the tournament with 84 points, followed by Aston Villa at 74. United had also scored the most number of goals in the tournament taking their tally of goals to 67, maintaining a goal difference of 36, having conceded 31 goals.

1993-94 (Manchester United):
It is the Sir Alex’s team which again retains the title of English Champions and become only the fourth team in the 20th century to win a league and FA Cup double. There was a large increase in the number of goals this time, with 80 goals to their name and dominating others with a goal difference of 42. Their nearest competitors, Aston Villa, could only manage a goal difference of 27. United put 92 points on the points table, which is the second highest number of points scored by a team in a single Premier League season.

1994-95 (Blackburn Rovers):
Some huge MONEY spending did the trick for Rovers as they became only the second team to become the Premier League champions. However, unlike Chelsea in today’s date, their success was largely viewed as a successful underdog story, although the amount spent was much less. Their striker, Alan Shearer, was also the leading goalscorer equaling Andy Cole’s record of 34 goals in a season. Rovers got better of their nearest rivals United with one point, with 89 points to their name. They scored a total of 80 goals throughout their league campaign.

1995-96 (Manchester United):
Manchester United finished their campaign with yet another league and FA Cup double, and Eric Cantona was crowned Footballer of the Year. United also registered the biggest ever win in the Premier League history with a 9-0 humiliation of Ipswich Town. 4 points separated Manchester United at 82 from the 2nd placed Newcastle United at 78. They managed to score a total of 73 goals, conceding 35.

1996-97 (Manchester United):
A young David Beckham, of Man United, scored from the halfway line on the first day season as he went on to become the PFA Young Player of the Year. United won their 4th league title in 5 seasons, with 75 points on board. They scored the most number goals with a total of 76.

1997-98 (Arsenal):
The arrival of Mr. Wenger did mark a new beginning in Arsenal’s league history as the Gunners stole the title from the hands of Manchester United by overtaking a 11-point lead. Arsene Wenger became the first overseas manager to win the league title in England, and Arsenal became only the fifth team to win a league and FA Cup double in the 20th century. But the Gunners could only manage 68 goals, whereas second-placed Manchester United were the league topscorers with 73 goals. Also, there was a gap of only one point between the two sides, with Arsenal at 78 and United at 77.

1998-99 (Manchester United):
This was the year when the Premier League Academy system was set up. Manchester United won a league, Fa CuP and UEFA Champions League treble to end the 20th century on a high. They finished one point above the second-placed Asrenal, with 79 points. The Red Devils maintained their amazing goalscoring record and netted 80 goals in the league.

1999-00 (Manchester United):
The Red Devils again became the champions with 91 points on board, and with a record 97 goals scored, the highest ever in the league history till that time. A new record for most number of goals in a league season was also created, with a total number of 1,060 goals.

2000-01 (Manchester United):
United beat Arsenal to the 2nd spot for the third consecutive season with ten points separating the two sides, United at 80 and Arsenal at 70. Sir Alex Ferguson also became the first manager to win 3 successive league titles. Man United were again the top scoring side in the league with a total of 79 goals scored.

2001-02 (Arsenal):
Barclaycard became the new Title Sponsor, as Arsenal went on to win a league and FA Cup double by scoring in every game of the season. But still could not be the topscorers in yet another league winning campaign of them. Asrene Wenger’s side could score 79 goals, whereas third-placed Manchester United scored the most goals in the league taking their tally to 87.

2002-03 (Manchester United):
United go on a 18 match unbeaten run since their Boxing Day fixture as they beat overtake Arsenal’s 8 pint lead in the process to win their 8th Premier League title. Although United won their yet another league title, yet this time they couldn’t finish as the top scorers. It was Arsenal with 85 goals who had the most number of goals to their name, eleven more than United with 74.

2003-04 (Arsenal):
Arsenal went unbeaten throughout the season to clinch the title and also earn the nickname of ‘The Invincibles’. With 90 points on the pints table, they finished as the leading goalscorers with 74 goals. Thierre Henry became the fourth player to reach the 30 goals mark in a season. Roman Abramovich took over as the new Chelsea owner.

2004-05 (Chelsea):
Chelsea’s fortune took some positive turns immediately with the arrival of Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge. Under him, Chelsea went on to win their first top flight in 50 years as they finished their Premier league campaign with most wins (29) and fewest goals conceded (15) in any season. Petr Cech kept a record 24 cleansheets. Jose in his first season at Chelsea also had a record of most points ever made by an English team in the league (95).

2005-06 (Chelsea):
Chelsea retained their title and also their record of most wins in a season, with 29. As a result, their number of points rose to a total of 91, with 72 goals scored. The Blues finished as the leading goalscorers, along with Manchester United with the same number of goals.

2006-07 (Manchester United):
United became the third different club to win the league in four seasons, and set the highest ever record for the attendance in a Premier League game when 76,098 people watched the Man United vs. Blackburn Rovers game at Old Trafford on March 31, 2007. They stood atop with 89 points and 83 goals scored in the league, making them the highest goalscorers of the season.

2007-08 (Manchester United):
Barclays Premier League was introduced as the new name for the English top-flight. United won their 10th league title since 1992. Christiano Ronaldo became the highest scorer with 31 goals in as many number of starts, equaling Alan Shearer’s record in a 38-match season, and also taking his team’s tally to a total number of 80 goals. United finished with 87 points at the top, 2 ahead of second-placed Chelsea at 85.

2008-09 (Mancheter United):
United under Sir Lex again won their third title in a row. It took their tally of English top-flights to 19, beating Liverpool with 18. Their points tally touched 90 and netted only 68 goals in the league. They didn’t finish as the scorers.

2009-10 (Chelsea):
Carlo Ancelotti in his first season incharge at the Bridge won the Blues their 4th league title, doubled with the FA Cup win, with a record 103 goals scored by any English team in a Premier League campaign.

2010-11 (Manchester United):
Manchester United won their 12th Premier League title and 19th overall. A new record of 1,063 goals scored was set in a 38-fixture season. On Saturday 5th February 2011 a record 41 goals were scored in one day, in only eight matches. United themselves managed to score 78 goals in the league and finished at top with 80 points to their name.

2011-12 (Manchester City):
The Blue half of Manchester finally had their season in the English top flight when they won the title on the last day of the season. Sergio Aguero’s late strike in a 3-2 win over QPR meant that Man City win the league ahead of second placed United on goal difference of 1. City finished as the team with the most number of goals scored, with a total of 93 goals.

2012-13 (Manchester United):
After finishing the glorious 26 years at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson called on his retirement with the 13th Premier League title to his name. The Red Devils won the title with four matches to spare thanks to a hat-trick from the league’s top scorer Robin van Persie, who netted 26 times in his first campaign with Man Utd, against Aston Villa. United were clearly dominant in term of points (89) and also finishing as the league top scorers with 86 goals. Man City finished 2nd with 78 points.

2013-14 (Manchester City):
In a title race that continued till the very last weekend of the league campaign, Manchester City finally emerged as the winners. Liverpool finished second, with two pints separating the two sides and both scoring over 100 goals in the league campaign- City with 102 and Liverpool with 101. Only two separated champions Man City at 86 points from 2nd placed Liverpool.

Premier League, thus, has always been used to the attacking or offensive play. The fact that in 15 out of all the 22 seasons of the Barclays Premier League, since its inception in 1992, the teams with the most number of goals scored have been crowned as the Champions, goes well with the above mentioned point. In fact, Chelsea have the record for most number of goals scored in a season by any team, when the Blues went on to win their last title under Carlo Ancelotti with 103 goals scored.

It was however a Chelsea side which was based on ruling out their opponents by means of their physicality, in contrast with the current side which has displayed a creative, smooth attacking style of football. But the later parts of the season have witnessed a major focus being shifted towards the defensive game. As a result, most of Chelsea’s recent results except the Leicester trip were a 1-0 or a 2-1 win which clearly is in contrast with recent playing methods adopted by the league winners in the past few seasons. But hardly any of the recent champions who had an all-out attacking style of play could enjoy such a dominance over other teams, unlike Chelsea who are 12 points clear to their closest competitor.

Perhaps the ‘boring’ football is not really boring. Watching out for how or if the opposition is able to break the stubborn Chelsea defence and when Chelsea finally make a breakthrough can be the new cool in the Premier League football. And on their day the breakthrough can be a big one, as we saw in the game against Leicester City. Besides, who is Mr. Arsene Wenger to call our play as ‘boring’, when his own side couldn’t finish as the top scorers in 2 of their 3 title winning campaigns. And just a matter of fact, we now have more Premier League titles than his Arsenal side since 1992. And as Jose said, boring actually is 10 years without winning the league.

The genius mind of Jose is surely trying to invent a new style of winning these tournaments, even if that comes at a cost of oppositions not being able to accept it and then getting frustrated and calling it ‘boring’ or ‘park the bus’. As long as the fans are getting what they want, the three points and the major silverwares, what can they possibly complain about? Keep up the good work Jose!

If you want to write articles & share your views with your fellow Blues, contact us at – admin@gamehasjustbegun.com

Edited By: Ojas

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