As debate week rages on here at Sling, we are taking the argument to the field. With the Big 4 sports leagues in the United States on pause for the past 100 days due to the Coronavirus, we’ve decided to engage in one of the most passionate debate topics amongst international soccer fans: Is the Premier League or LaLiga the best league in the world?
Below we will argue the case for both leagues based on three criteria: Playing style, depth, and success. Both the Premier League and LaLiga have a lot left to play for and you can watch both on Sling!
The Case For The Premier League
The popularity of the Premier League has exploded in the United States over the last 10 years. According to WorldSoccerTalk, the league has seen a massive 74 percent increase in viewership stateside in that time frame. There's a good reason for it.
Style of Play: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In this case, the beholder thinks this bucket is one of the league’s biggest strengths when comparing the EPL to other soccer leagues in the world. The Prem is fast-paced and attack focused. No matter who is playing, you will always see quick presses and teams looking to exploit you on the counter attack. When it comes to physicality, it is the best in the world. You hear stories of new signees from other leagues and how they need to ‘acclimate’ to the Premier League style of play. You have less time to react and if you don’t react in time, you’ll be punished.
Depth: Most seasons in the Premier League, the top six is pretty much a sure thing. Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham will be atop the table (this year, Liverpool are running away with the title). But the parity is unmatched: This year, you have small clubs like Wolves and Sheffield United in the top 6. Anyone can beat anyone on a given match day in the Premier League.
Success in Europe: Up until Liverpool’s Champions League victory last season, the Premier League was a disaster in Europe’s top competition. The 2011/12 campaign was the last time an English team won or even appeared in the Final. They may have turned the coroner, but as of late, the Champions League has belonged to clubs outside the UK.
The Case For LaLiga
When talking about LaLiga, you have to mention the two teams that run the show: Real Madrid and Barcelona are the two biggest clubs in the world. Throw in Atletico Madrid and you have three teams that are legitimate contenders for the Champions League every year, and their track record proves it.
Style Of Play: If the word to describe the Premier League is physical, then the world to describe LaLiga is technical. Similar to how players have to adjust to the fast, physical style of the Premier League, they must adapt to the technical aspect of LaLiga. Think of the Prem as a rock concert vs LaLiga’s classical concert. Some think passing the ball around for the heck of it is boring; others think it’s like a paint brush on a canvas. And when the two styles have clashed, more often than not, the Spanish style has come out on top.
Depth: At first glance, you might think LaLiga has zero depth due to Barcelona and Real Madrid winning the last 14 of the last 15 LaLiga championships. But when you look at the success of the other clubs in LaLiga, you’ll see more of the same. Atletico Madrid are perennial contenders in the Champions league and teams like Sevilla and Valencia have had success. Spanish teams have won 4 of the last 6 Europa League Championships.
Success: In the last 10 years LaLiga has 6 Europa League (Sevilla 3, Atletico Madrid 3) and 6 Champions League (Real Madrid 4, Barcelona 2) titles. I’m not sure there is much else you can say after reading those stats.