By Ryan Oldham
So, I heard you’ve got questions. That’s understandable. After my first Premier League recap, I realized that a lot of language I used was—quite literally—foreign to those not versed in the world of soccer and the English Premier League. Namely the editor, Rich Larson, said that he didn’t understand a word. But Rich is a baseball guy, and I’m still too scared to ask what RBI and ERA stand for, so there’s confusion on both sides here!
Truth is, I’m uneasy about changing the writing style (nor have I been asked to), as the weekly review of the Premier League is written for people with a vested interested in soccer. Most—if not all—readers will know many of the terms I use, and so they should. But I have been asked to provide a little cheat sheet for the readers that may not be as familiar with the Premier League,or readers who want to dip their toe in and see if they like it.
So, sit bloody tightly, because we’re about to have a right good knees up.
The English Premier League (formerly the Barclays Premier League) is made up of 20 of the best soccer teams in the world (well maybe 10 of the best and 10 of the okayest). Each team plays 38 games over the course of 10 months, and whoever is on top at the end wins it all. No playoffs, no 7-game series’, no one-ring-to-rule-them-all crap. Thirty-eight games, play each other twice, you win or you lose.
Or you draw.
Three points are awarded for a win, one point for a draw, and zero points for losing.
Emirates, Old Trafford, the Etihad, the AMEX. All stadiums. Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Brighton and Hove Albion respectively play at those stadiums. And yes. Brighton and Hove Albion is one team. Brighton and Hove is a city in the Southeast of England, and is quite a popular seaside destination if you can’t afford to go to Spain that year. Brighton and Hove used to be two different towns, but they joined together officially in 2001 when the Queen granted them city status. Many locals still consider the towns to be separate. It’s bloody mental.
Arsenal (who play at the Emirates) have devolved from Premier League powerhouse to a sort of laughing stock in recent years. This is in part due to their poor performances on the pitch, but also the emergence of Arsenal Fan TV—which gives real fans the ability to voice their concerns about the team. Arsenal Fan TV really tapped in to the market of finding lunatics to voice those opinions, and last
season’s utter failure from Arsenal led to AFTV going viral weekly with meltdown after meltdown. As a Manchester United fan, it’s been glorious to watch.
Chelsea are the current champions, and will be referred to as such until the end of this season when they ultimately fail, fire their coach, spend $300 million, rinse, and repeat.
Manchester United haven’t performed well for about five years, so if my writing style is particularly confrontational or angry one week, you can probably bet on United having had their arses handed to them by a mediocre bottom-half team.
Rich mentioned that he had no idea what a “goalmouth,” is. This referred to Jamie Vardy, who I labelled as a “goalmouth threat,” for this season. The goalmouth is quite simply the goal. The net. In between the posts. And while Jamie Vardy has proven his threat early on this season, I’ve been wrong before, and I’ll be wrong again. Despite this I do imagine Vardy will be in the top five goal scorers this season.
Choice of attire will always be a hotly debated topic, and I imagine it’ll come up more often in my weekly reviews. I’m actually thinking about a “Pants of the Week” feature. It might just be a different picture of Pep Guardiola each week.
Managers have been knoen for specific ways that they dress. For example, Tony Pulis (West Bromwich Albion manager) wears a tracksuit every week and a baseball cap. Pulis goes more coach than manager. Jose Mourinho this season has opted for
a suit. More manager than coach. Pep Guardiola has so far opted for thin jumper and chinos. More “night out on Deansgate” than anything else.
I hope I clear up a lot for you here, but I’d imagine this article just creates new confusion and adds even more questions to the list. Despite this, if you’re on the edge and thinking about dipping your toe in to the Premier League, please do! It’s a wild, 10-month ride of many ups and many more downs (if you choose a team like Crystal Palace), but ultimately your life will be enriched at the end. Even better this year, at the end of the season it’ll be the World Cup, so you can annoy your wife or husband even more by continuously watching soccer for all 12 months of the year!
(managing editor’s note: Runs Batted In and Earned Run Average, respectively)
This article was edited by Rachel Wohrlin
Ryan Oldham is a Manchester native and a lifelong supporter of Manchester United. He knows far more about English Premier League football than you do, and therefore was selected to write a weekly update on the most popular professional sports league in the world. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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