When pundit Jamie Carragher criticised Newcastle for playing so defensively on Wednesday night he said it was a disgrace that Newcastle played so defensively at home – he was actually talking about something that is not specifically a Newcastle problem.
He just didn’t realize it.
It is a growing Premier League problem that we are in danger of losing the competitiveness of the league.
The top clubs spend hundreds of pounds each summer on new players, and the smaller cubs cannot match that.
So if Manchester City are runaway winners in the Premier League this season – which looks very likely at this point – what will the response of other top clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea be?
To spend more money in the transfer market this summer so they can lodge an attempt to win the Premier League next season.
At his press conference this afternoon Rafa Benitez briefly addressed what the growing problem is with the Premier League:
“Pep Guardiola was clear – he has played against teams with different approaches. If you want to keep the Premier League very open, maybe you have to change the financial rules.”
“I won’t talk about other clubs, other players, other transfers. I will concentrate on football, that’s it.”
We basically have two leagues operating now in the Premier League.
The top six – the two Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Chelsea. Arsenal and Tottenham battle it out at the top (although not this season) and they maybe get 80% of the media coverage – or is it 90%?
It’s already split between those clubs who have and those clubs who have not.
Newcastle are in the latter category at the moment and while in the past clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City could come from relative obscurity and are now some of the best teams in Europe – the best teams money can buy in fact – that is not possible today.
That’s because the Financial Fair Play Rules are being used to check clubs’ overspending and becoming bankrupt.
So we see a big problem in the future where the games between the bottom 14 clubs and teams like Manchester City could become mismatches.
That was almost the case on Wednesday night with some Geordie fans just a little worried we could get creamed by City – although that didn’t happen.
Competition is always crucial to any good league but we are losing that competitiveness, and the top six clubs now want (even) more of the TV rights money than they get at the moment.
That will only accelerate the lack of competition in the league.
Newcastle were highly criticized on Wednesday night for trying to get a point against City by all-out defending at home.
Given the current situation, what else can we do?
Try to match City’s attacking play and get creamed 7-0?
And Jamie Carragher’s criticism of Newcastle should have been a criticism of the Premier League; it’s how the big six are getting bigger and more powerful, and the remaining 14 clubs are getting smaller and less powerful – in comparison.
That leads to a league that in the long run is not sustainable.