Premier League Clubs Battle to Move Up the Standings

The English Premier League, the major professional soccer league in England, is wrapping up its season this month as teams compete to stay in the league and avoid relegation, fight for the chance to play in European soccer tournaments or battle to be crowned champions of the entire league. For the casual sports fan, English soccer might not be the most popular. Yet in lieu of Apple TV’s “Ted Lasso” and the continued growing popularity of soccer in the United States, this article will provide an update on the world’s most competitive domestic soccer league. 

The Premier League, as it stands, is structured in such a way that the bottom three teams in the league get demoted to a lower league, while the three best teams in that same lower league get promoted to the upper league. This unique system of demotions and promotions allows Premier League followers to not only enjoy watching teams fight to lift the league trophy but also to watch teams scrap together points to stay in the league itself. 

Now to the actual teams and what to look for: first, the race to be champion has come close to being decided, with both Manchester City and Arsenal attempting to be crowned. Manchester City leads Arsenal by one win in the standings and has six games left to play in the season to Arsenal’s five. Manchester City has a relatively firm grasp on the title, but with games to play, there is always a chance for a slip and for the team to lose points. Manchester City fans shouldn’t be too worried, however, as they have the impressive 6’4” Norwegian monster Erling Haaland as their striker. Haaland in his first season broke the single-season goal record for any player in the Premier League, beating out past record holders such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Luiz Suarez. Arsenal led the league for the better part of the season and looked to be the guaranteed champions, but they have dropped points in the past few weeks due to untimely ties and losses. Now, they have let the Manchester City squad, coached by strategy guru Pep Guardiola, close the deficit. Arsenal fans should not fret, however, as their current roster is both competent and exciting with young players like Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Ødegaard. Additionally, Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta used to coach under Guardiola and has developed into quite the strategist himself. 

In the Premier League, the top four teams are given the opportunity to play in the Champions League, which can be summed up as an international tournament where the top teams from across the European continent compete. As both Manchester City and Arsenal have significantly more points than the teams ranked third through sixth, one sees a battle between Newcastle United, Manchester United, Liverpool and the Tottenham Hotspurs begin to unfold for the last remaining tickets to Champions League soccer. Although the gap is eleven points from Newcastle (third) to Tottenham (sixth), there is certainly still a race to secure Champions League qualification. Newcastle United have shocked the world with their incredible season this year, as they made minor improvements to their team and yet have the fewest goals allowed in the entire league, in small part to goalkeeper Nick Pope. Manchester United (fourth) has seen good form as of late, with a rejuvenated Marcus Rashford scoring prolifically since the World Cup, as well as a midfield being heavily anchored by Carlos Casemiro. However, their unpredictability comes and goes against teams across the board. Liverpool (fifth) has had a rocky season, to say the least, with multiple injuries and relatively poor play. The second-place team of last year has been struggling greatly this year, but they have a lightning-fast attack with the newly-signed Cody Gakpo paired with Mohamed Salah. Finally, in the European soccer race, we see the Tottenham Hotspurs (sixth) struggling the most to find form in this last push. The team has had three different managers since February 11 and has seen some of the poorest performances in recent memory occurring weekly.

With the season coming to an end, you will find all of these teams attempting to gain as many points as possible and surpass one another to play Champions League soccer. The Premier League has twenty teams in the league, but for simplicity’s sake, the teams ranked seventh through fifteenth are all going to stay in the Premier League, even though they don’t have any serious chance of playing European soccer. Chelsea, a team that many will know, has had an all-time disappointing season, even after having spent over $200 million on players over the past summer and winter, as they currently sit in 12th place in the league. 

The exciting part of the Premier League, as mentioned earlier, is the demotion and promotion aspect, and thus there is the battle for not finishing in the bottom three positions. The teams ranked 16th to 19th are separated by only one point, and so the fight to stay in is fierce. 2016 Premier League Champions Leicester City sit in 16th and attempt to rely on their best striker, Jamie Vardy, to lead them out of relegation. Leeds United, or “America’s Team,” sits 17th in the league and remains out of relegation for the time being. With American internationals Weston McKennie, Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams, many state-side viewers root for Leeds, and with the World Cup always in the future, many hope to see these players remain in the most competitive soccer league in the world and see them continue to improve. Nottingham Forest (18th) saw promotion from the lower league last year and hopes to hold on to another year in the Premier League, with their superstar goalie Keylor Navas between the posts. Everton (19th) attempts to stay in the Premier League for another year as they just barely stayed in from last. The team has gone through many reworks and forms yet just hasn’t seemed to hold it together for enough games this year. 

The Premier League never ceases to be unpredictable, so stay on the watch for new stories and moves in the standings!