We’re not talking about boxing belts here
We’re roughly halfway through the season as this post is being written and there is already “title race” talk. You’ll hear it from commentators and supporters alike because *generally* the team leading at Christmas is usually the ones lifting the trophy at the end of the season. I say generally because it is true that, in the last eight years, seven Yuletide leaders have gone on to win the league at the end of the 38-round season. Before that, there has been many a convincing squad squander their lead and face the ignominy of the weight of expectation being too much to bear as the final rounds draw near.
So what? Postseason, yeah?
Um… no. There are no “final rounds”; no postseason in the English Premier League title race (or most European leagues for that matter). Whoever wins the most games (or doesn’t lose as many) will be conferred the silverware after 38 regular games. That’s it. No playoffs, silly Americans.
WHAT!!! No postseason?
Here’s the thing. The English Premier League – and football in general – is seen as a “pure” sport. All you need to play the game is to have something to kick and somewhere to kick it to.
It’s all a bit oldie-worldie, timey-wimey, but it’s just what they do – and they do like to keep it a pure game in a sense. So therefore, the best team at the end – that is to say the team with the most points after 38 games – is the winner. First past the post. It’s a 38-lap horse race, if you will. Simple, yes?
But isn’t that a bit boring?
Well, sometimes, yes.
But sometimes you have those memorable seasons where the title race goes right down to very last minutes of the season, when all that separates two fantastic teams is a wonderful individual effort from a player [insert AAAGUUUUUURRRRROOOOOOOO!!!!!] bellowed into the commentator’s microphone over the dying embers of the season. That’s when you know cup has been won. It happens more often than you’d think. Sure, there are plenty of seasons when the winner has been decided well before the middle of May, but there is a reason why the Football Association ensures that all games on the final day kick off at the same time. Let’s not forget the battle at the bottom of the table, either.
Has any team lost after being top a Christmas?
Yes. Liverpool, most recently. Don’t talk to a Liverpool fan about 2014. You’ll see their face fall; their confidence crumble before your eyes.
But not this year. Surely not?
Big prediction – Liverpool to win the league.
On the last day.
Needing a win to earn their first Premier League title.
It’s theirs to lose.