How the Premier League Has Evolved Over the Years

Premier League changed football forever, unrecognisable from what it was 27 years ago.

Founded in 1992, the numbers attached to the twenty-team Premier League playing a total of 38 games per season on average are staggering. For instance, the League has produced 21,553 goals in total with Manchester United leading the count at 1,989.

These stats, while they may not show the whole picture, proved that there is more to the league than the hype and money.

A league of its own

English football is always pitted against cricket and rugby, without an identity of its own. But those were the 1990s before the digital wave came into existence.

Football is now on a separate section of the newspapers and websites too. The sport had never experienced any letup in terms of media coverage. It’s a visual entertainment, from 18 games on live TV in the former First Division to 60 and now, 168 televised games every season.

Stakes are high

Each televised comes with a hefty price tag–the TV rights auction alone amounts to £$8 billion in total. A football match today is worth £10 million when the entire finals of the 1991-92 season cost around £15 million. 

In terms of broadcasting rights, there had been a 2,728% increase over 25 years. Predicting where the Premier League is broadcasted is harder to predict now more than ever. For now, it was available in 189 countries worldwide.

Ticket prices skyrocketed as well from £30 at the highest end to £97. So were the transfer fees. Club owners, which may compose of Americans, Middle Easterners, and Chinese, are billionaires. Thus, football is no longer the working man’s game. Instead, it can be considered a professional elite’s game–a lifestyle choice rather than just a sport.

A healthy mix of players

English football has a global appeal because of the talented and well-loved players from different parts of the world. When the League started, there were only 13 players from overseas out of 242 players in total. In the 2016-17 season, about 112 out of 220 players started the match on the last day of the said season.

Overseas players are well-represented today; they hailed from 113 different nations throughout the years since the Premier League started. In 1999, the first team without a Brit player played in the League. Speaking of which, out of the 20 teams, 13 has a non-English manager.

Discernible style of play

How the game is played was very different now. Agility and physicality are two vital changes. Not just the speed of the players and the way every match turns out, but also the club management takes care of these players more so physically. Diets are improved, and alcohol is removed from the regimen.

With this, football players are more interesting to watch while in the field. Their display of athleticism is salient.

On the other hand, with cards issuance in mind, the players of before were more disciplined. In the first week of 1992, no player was sent off, and three of the games had no booking. Compared with today, in just 10 games, 34 cards were issued. Red cards were also given to players.

English football has changed beyond recognition. However, it is still the same sport that binds people – Brits or not.

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Player Feature: Harry Maguire

Full Name: Jacob Harry Maguire 

Birthdate: March 5, 1993

Birthplace: Sheffield, England 

Current Team: Manchester United

Position: Defender, Centre-Back

Shirt number: 15

Years Active: 2009 – present

Key statistics

  • Appeared on more than 300 matches
  • Has a 70% tackle success rate
  • Has a 76% dribbling success rate
  • Has a 78.1% aerial duel success rate
  • Has an 86% passing accuracy

With his concentration on the field as his strongest characteristic, Harry Maguire’s style of play can be summed up to three things. First, he likes to dribble. Second, he plays long balls more often than not. And third, he plays the ball of the ground. Maguire is an indirect set-piece threat.

Maguire has played with six other clubs namely Barnsley FC U18, Sheffield United U18, Sheffield United, Hull City, Wigan Athletic, and Leicester City. If the deal pushed through, he would be playing for the Manchester United for the 2019/2020 season. Likewise, he was once a part of the national teams: England U21 in 2012 and England in 2017.

Joining Leicester City on July 1, 2017, his contract is supposed to expire on June 30, 2023, after an extension on September 9, 2018. He was the summer transfer that people are eagerly waiting to be resolved.

His current market value was €50 million. However, Manchester United is set to sign Maguire for €80 million–a transfer that is sealed ‘imminently.’ If signed, Maguire’s transfer would be one of the most expensive defenders of all time.

He has already played in nine different major competitions including League One and Premier League where he scored nine and seven goals, respectively. 

Premier League Debate: Scholes vs Gerrard vs Lampardone of football’s most fascinating debates.

Maguire appeared on more than 100 matches (more than 300 on all leagues) between 2009 and 2019. He had seven goals with six assists and 19 clean sheets. He was able to concede 156 goals and tackle 153 with a tackle success rate of 70% (all seasons).

The one who is confident about his moves, Maguire has a dribbling success rate of 76%  in the 2018/2019 season. This makes him the second best defender next to Juan Foyth with 86% success rate. Such attribute has always been attached to his name since he first played football professionally at 19 years old.

He had 56 passes per game on average with a passing accuracy of 86%. While this is behind the passing accuracy of Leicester City (93%) and Manchester United (89%), his average can contribute to the overall success of either team with his average passes.

His aerial duel capacities are highly reliable as well. His aerial duel success rate is 78.1%–the highest with 151 aerial duels in the same season. What he lacks in speed, he compensates with physicality. He is one of the slowest defenders in the field.

These Premier League statistics (all seasons and 2018-2019 season) alone proved Maguire’s defence and team-playing prowess. He plays out from the back as confidently as he could, making him a centre-back to vie for. 

While he may not be a ball-playing centre-back like other defenders, he has all the attributes; hence, various clubs are after him. 

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Pogba ‘Sees His Future Elsewhere’ Despite the Push for Captaincy

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed he considers Paul Pogba, the Frenchman midfielder, as Mancher United’s next captain despite him being vocal about leaving this summer. Mino Raiola, Pogba’s agent, further along, is also keen on resolving his ward’s future who only wants “a new challenge somewhere else.’

Pogba is one of United’s key players this past season, providing an assist beginning the pre-season to a 2-0 victory against Perth Glory at the Optus Stadium in Australia. Pogba entered half-time while James Garner and Marcus Rashford scored the goals.

While he impressed, it was his first performance for the club since he publicly declared his desire to pursue either Juventus or Real Madrid last month. According to him, “there is no need to talk.”

While Real Madrid is equally vocal about its interest in buying him, both clubs are yet to put forward a formal bid. Scepticism grew whether either would bid for Pogba. Manchester United’s valuation of Pogba is more than £160 million.

Solskjaer, on the other hand, downplayed the idea and insisted that the United is under no pressure to sell. That is the complete opposite of Pogba’s actions as he tries to force his way out of Old Trafford before the transfer window closes on August 8.

United won’t allow Pogba to leave. The club also doubts that a club can meet the said valuation of the 26-year-old midfielder.

Amidst the brewing outgoing, Solskjaer said that the captaincy hasn’t been decided yet and promised to make an announcement when the season starts. The higher-ups still eye possibilities here and there, although the pre-season performance will form part of the assessment.

He also said that Ashley Young would wear the captain’s shirt until Manchester United decides on someone else. Young has worn the armband for a total of 30 games during the season. Antonio Valencia, the current club captain, hasn’t played since January 2.

Pogba regularly captained Manchester United, especially early in the 2018-19 season, despite clashing with Jose Mourinho who took vice-captain responsibilities. Solskjaer said about Pogba’s resuming of captaincy needs no explaining. 

Last season, Solskjaer claimed to build the team around Pogba. He would work on the basis of the midfielder remaining with Manchester United.

His only concern now is the growing influence of Pogba over the younger club players wherein he wasn’t setting an example to these players. His actions may undermine his authority as the manager since he is adamant about leaving the club as well.

Conflict within the dressing room is undeniable. The younger players are in awe of Pogba, but the more experienced players are growing weary and wary of the ‘unhealthy’ level of adoration. For the latter, Solskjaer must stop indulging the midfielder any further.

The boss also expressed dismay over the Frenchman’s decision to go public about him leaving United behind. Pogba announced on June during commercial commitment with Adidas.

Bryan Robson, a Manchester United legend, had also weighed in on the issue. He reminded Pogba, “You are contracted to Manchester United. You have to give everything for that club, that team and the fans.”

He also said that football players like him must take a good look at themselves in the mirror and decide what they want to happen with their football career. The agents can only guide them.

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