Monday, April 7, 2014

Change at the top is good for everyone

Everton smashed Arsenal this weekend, and it was refreshing to see. Not because I want to see Arsenal suffer, but because the league can get stale if the same teams dominate every year.

It's the same reason it's great to see Manchester United struggle. It's about time their fans saw an average team, a manager who is struggling to pick his best side, and (most likely) a year without a trophy.

If you support anyone but United or Arsenal, you can probably remember a time when your team was rubbish, and sneaking a 1-0 away win against a team in the bottom 3 was a great result. Arsenal, Manchester United (and the more recent versions - Manchester City and Chelsea) have expected to beat teams like West Brom, Stoke, West Ham and Aston Villa for years. There were surprise results for those teams against the big boys, but they were becoming few and far between.

And there's where it can get boring and repetitive.

If you can predict the top 2 ever year, it's not a great spectacle. If you have 5 or 6 teams competing for the Champions League places, then you engage so many more fans.

City and Chelsea have a lot of money to make sure they are up at the top, but Liverpool and Everton have really crashed the party this year, and many think that Tottenham should have done the same.

It's great for the health of the game in England. United and Arsenal will come again, but eating some humble pie for a season or three will help them refresh their approach. They may not be able to attract the big stars without Champions League football, but that poses new questions and the search for solutions.

Football is an ever-evolving game and we need a shake-up every now and then. Relegation and promotion between the leagues helps, but the teams at the very top need to be reminded that their won't dominate forever - and fans of smaller, less-successful teams will enjoy every minute of seeing the Uniteds and Arsenals of this world struggle.