Can London become the football powerhouse?

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The eyes of the world seem to be on England’s Premier League these days. Just before February’s Arsenal vs Barcelona clash, the Catalan side’s club president Josep Maria Bartomeu summed things up when he said the English league made him worry about retaining talent in Spain.

Bartomeu also referred to the Premier League’s latest TV deal which is worth north of £5billion – and cited table-topping Leicester  City as an example of what makes the league so exciting. This, he pointed out, could never happen in Spain.

But at the same time, his club are still hot favourites to become the first team in the Champions League era to retain to the trophy they won last June at the Olympiastadion in Berlin by beating Juventus 3-1. Barca certainly made the Gunners look very ordinary in their own backyard.

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But maybe this is all about to change given the strength of the Premier League? Leicester City doing so well has certainly made things more interesting – and the football betting market has surely never been more interesting in the Premier League than it is this year. This all helps to promote the Premier League around the world and for the TV revenues to keep on breaking new records.

The fact that the world’s most respected coach Pep Guardiola is on his way to Manchester City at the end of the season is also further testament to the strength of the Premier League on the international stage. But what about within the UK itself; which, if any, region can emerge as the dominant force?

Traditionally, this has mainly been a tussle between London on the one hand and the north west of England in the shape of the Liverpool and Manchester clubs on the other. And there are certainly no signs of this changing any time soon. If you looked at the betting market for the following Premier League season of 2016-17, for example, then the clubs that dominate are the old favourites of the two Manchester clubs and Liverpool – along with the capital’s big three of Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea. And this has largely been the status quo for a while now; these six are considered a cut above the rest.

Historically, it has to be said, the North West clubs have the edge, but over the decade ahead, it could well be London that comes to dominate UK football. After all, London is Britain’s only truly international city and the capital’s clubs sometimes find it easier to recruit the world’s biggest names than clubs from elsewhere in England.

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What’s more, if we take the incredible achievements of Leicester City out of the equation for the moment, the Premier League table tells its own story; at the time of writing, without Leicester, Spurs are ahead followed by Arsenal, with the two Manchester clubs somewhat adrift. Chelsea’s season has been anomalously bad, but you know they’ll be up there this time next year. Then in fifth place we have West Ham, whose move to the 2012 Olympic Stadium could be the start of a new and bigger era in the much-loved club’s history.

So maybe, just maybe, it’s London’s turn to start to dominate the Premier League in the years ahead; a league which is already the biggest in the world and is showing no signs of slowing just yet.

 

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