5 things we leaned from the Premier League season
Welcome to Tuesday Team Talk. Every week, the H+K Sports team will give a unique perspective on the week’s football action and the stories making the headlines across the beautiful game.
An emotional roller-coaster, a historic upset, a wild ride - all cliché’s apply for what has truly been an unbelievable Premier League Season. With another season in the books and it’s time for the inevitable end of year introspection. These are the 5 things we learned from the 2015/16 Premier League season.
Changing of the guard
This felt like the season when a new generation took over the Premier League. You can see it best in the way that English football talent refreshed. The likes of Gerrard and Lampard are now gone, Wayne Rooney looks in decline and John Terry is half way out the door. The ‘golden generation’ has been replaced by an emerging selection of young and exciting English players. The likes of Dele Ali, Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Troy Deeney and even Jamie Vardy (not so young, but definitely new and exciting) have lit up the league and made it feel like a whole new proposition.
Who would want to be a Premier League Manager?
It’s pretty common knowledge that if job security is what you are after, a Premier League manager probably isn’t the job for you. However, it feels like this year the standards for managers have been particularly tough. Seeing Liverpool, Chelsea and City replace managers is one thing, standards at those clubs are outrageously high. But what may have been most striking was seeing Watford sack manager Quique Sanchez Flores despite never being near relegation this season. The LMA recently revealed that England’s top four divisions collectively fired 54 managers this season, the highest number since 2001 and something the LMA chief labelled “embarrassing”. With more money in the game comes greater expectation, and managers are feeling the strain (for more read what I wrote about management and the age of expendability here).
You don't always get what you pay for
Some of the most notable signings this season have been players that no one would have predicted would have been impact players when they signed in the summer. The likes of Riyad Mahrez, N’Golo Kante and Dimitri Payet all arrived without fanfare and with relatively low transfer fees but have made a huge impression on the Premier League. It’s tempting to say that as global football becomes more and more exposed it will be harder to find these diamonds in the rough, but this season has shown that good scouting can still uncover hidden gems just as it always has.
Terrible seasons are even worse these days
Being the Premier League’s whipping boys has never been fun, but this season it was worse than ever. As Aston Villa were in the midst of one of the worst seasons in recent Premier League memory, their plight was only made worse by a strong of social media induced faux pas. Most notably Joleon Lescott riled up fans not once but twice with ill-advised social media posts. When things gone wrong in the social media age, they go really wrong!
Impossible is nothing, the Premier League is stronger than ever
There is of course no doubt about what the most significant story was in this wonderful Premier League season. Leicester City’s impossible rise from relegation threatened bottom dwellers to Premier League Champions has now been analysed to death, but that doesn’t make it any less special. Its biggest impact could be felt way beyond this season. The Premier League has gone from a competition where seemingly only a handful of teams even had a chance to win, to one where every team will now genuinely believe they have a chance. That is the legacy of Leicester City and it’s one that makes this truly one of the most important Premier League seasons of all time.