Ups and downs of The Premier League 2016
As early as March 2016, the Barclay has indicated that they would not seek the renewal of the sponsorship of Barclays for the Premier League 2016 season, which has been a title sponsor since 2004. Premier league clubs have agreed they can manage without Barclays when its contract expires by the start of this season. This competition is now simply known as “The Premier League”.
This move was intended to mirror major American sports leagues much like the NFL or NBA, which presents a ‘clean’ brand. It would allow the Premier League to communicate easily with their global audiences.
On set-piece goals
Set-piece goals are up this season across the league, averaging 0.65 per game compared to 0.59 last year. Officials clamping down of shirt-pulling by defenders have altogether contributed to the rise of set-piece averages. Leicester City’s centre-backs Wes Morgan and Robert Huth who relies on grappling to defend set-pieces, have been penalized for such behavior. According to Danny Simpson, “The way it was last season, I thought we were very good at defending set pieces and we made it tough for the opponents. You have been doing that all your career and suddenly you’ve got to change – but it’s the same for everyone.”
The strong season start by Liverpool and Arsenal can be attributed to using unusual center-forwards. Alexis Sanchez was deployed by Arsenal from the start. He has spent his last two season as an attacking midfielder, mostly starting from the left. But his deployment upfront added another dimension to Arsenal’s attack. He has stretched the play better than Olivier Giroud, link play cleverly on the deep and does not disappoint with his center-forward skills which resulted in a powerful goal against Sunderland.
Liverpool’s use of Roberto Firmino as regular No9 showcased his flair of being a different beast. Firmino is better at starting the press, more dynamic and more selfless.
Fewer free roles
The top sides of the Premier League have this structured and systemized feel this season. This is due to the appointment of managers who possess very strict philosophies. This has given stricter roles to playmakers who usually play in free role, or you’re out of the team.
Cesc Fabregas is on the losing end of this deal. He maybe the league’s most creative midfielder in the past two seasons, but he requires freedom from tactical responsibilities to shine in the field. So far he’s only start was one.