Why The 2016/17 Premier League Will Be The Real European Super League


We really should know better by now. Armed with infinite stats and drenched by tidal wave upon tidal wave of analysis and opinion, we should be able to predict football better than any generation before us.

But the truth is we've never known less than we do this Premier League season.

No one thought Leicester City could threaten a title. Even the fortuitous souls who placed a bet on it were surely driven more by a lottery-style punt, and the stunning odds, than the fundamental belief it was possible.

If Leicester do see it home, it will be interesting to see how bookmakers view odds for next season's unlikely lads. Will a new parity be reflected in 6/1 odds for West Brom doing the double? Might Chelsea's curious plunge see the relegation odds for Pep Guardiola's Manchester City at 20/1?

Based on everything we've studied in the Premier League era, the Leicester miracle would be the anomaly of all anomalies. We've become used the idea now, but its reality was once no more fantastical than saying Norwich could win the whole show next season. 

Norwich City v West Ham United - Premier League : News Photo

Of course they can't, but that's not the point. The point is that Leicester have reaffirmed in football a glorious sense of the possible that's as big and bold as the fabled American dream itself. In so doing they may have flapped the butterfly wings that trigger an earthquake.

Remember when we thought it was "Mo Money, Mo Problems" for the Premier League? Well what if the £5 billion TV deal has filled the pot so high that every club will now have a bowl of cash deep enough to win a title?

Conversely, what if that pot is now so big that the next time a big name angles for a Premier League move they'll be priced at £200 million and the richer clubs might welcome that number as a way to assert their power again? There's a reason they have watches that cost six figures. It's not because they tell the time better

Leicester didn't need the money this time, but theirs is the ultimate disruption statement for what can be done. Clubs will think differently this summer based on what Leicester have achieved and a thought that big can be a powerful catalyst for what's achieved on the pitch.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-LEICESTER : News Photo

Let's take a middling-to-upper Premier League club I visited last August as a prime example. Their mindset at the start of the season was to win a title race within the title race - to finish sixth and ignore the five places above them. Coming seventh would be classed as a runners-up finish. Anything higher than sixth was not even on the table.

You'd have to imagine that club will be looking at things in a whole new light after watching Vardy, Mahrez and Co. show the Premier League elite how it's done.

Leicester are not the only surprise story this season of course. West Ham are riding high under Slaven Bilic, Chelsea were transformed from champions into relegation fodder for a while, and Tottenham are mounting a realistic title charge of their own.

It's been quite the campaign all things considered, but we might very well argue next season has the ingredients to better it.

Barcelona v Real Madrid - Copa del Rey : News Photo

Guardiola will be at City. Jose Mourinho may be at United. Jurgen Klopp will have built a team to call his own at Liverpool. Everton could have new ownership. Spurs will be further evolved from the force they are already. West Ham will be looking to punch harder from their new home at the Olympic Stadium.

How many teams will realistically entertain title hopes when the action kicks off in August? If we include Leicester in the mix, it's at least six and maybe as many as seven or eight.

Get your predictions in now and be sure to go on record picking an outsider.

Having been completely and utterly fooled by Leicester's rise to prominence, now we dare to suggest we know how it ends. "They'll choke", "They'll fade", "Their lack of experience will cost them at the death".

And yet here they stand. Held by West Brom, but still playing life-affirming football with verve and joy, and with a run-in that should hold no fear for a team that doesn't do fear.

There's been a beautiful chaos about the Premier League this season. It's felt like the antidote to all that came before it.

Ignore all the talk of a European Super League, and just think what's to come next season. 

 

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