Bayern, Real Madrid, Juventus, and PSG are clubs that continue to dominate their respective leagues season after season, but can we make a similar case for teams in the Premier League?
At present, within most individual European Leagues, there is a clear divide between two, or, at most, three teams who dominate the competition each year while vying for their respective title. Although underdogs often make impressive advancements in memorable matches, the favorites regularly clinch the title with a significant lead after they retain the title in following seasons, establishing an “era of dominance.”
Yet, while this trend is seen around the world, whether referring to European Football or American Football (i.e. the New England Patriots), it has not made a home in Britain. Therefore we must ask ourselves, why is an ‘era of dominance’ unlikely to be achieved in the Premier League?
However, before diving into an analysis, some readers may disagree with my previous statement and instead argue in favor of Manchester City F.C. as an already dominant figure in the Premier League. Many pundits believe their era will commence if City manages to retain their title, but other factors, such as teams like Conte’s Chelsea, Leicester City, and Liverpool who pose a real title challenge to City, need to be recognized.
Another example is Arsenal. During their invincible season between 2003-4, many would have expected them to dominate for years after, but Chelsea stripped them of their title in the following season, leaving Arsenal twelve points adrift. Chelsea made it clear that to be continuously unrivaled in the Premier League is no easy feat. The 2004-5 season could have been a defining one for Arsenal, as they had the chance to lay a foundation for Wenger’s men to take the league by storm; but as always, the opposition held out in the end.
But, ONE British team did crack the code. Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United won an unprecedented 13 premier league titles in a span of 20 years. Due to his immense success, Ferguson was given the green light to shape the club in a manner by which he deemed fit. From David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, and the Class of 92’, to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney towards the latter stages of his tenure, Ferguson settled for nothing shy of perfection on the pitch. Whilst dominating the players, he also shaped the club administratively by being a key stakeholder in many financial decisions made by Man United. Therefore, much of the clubs achievements in those 20 years are owed to the tenacity of the Scotsman.
However, nowadays, it is uncommon for managers to oversee the club’s entire operations and instead they are merely expected to conjure up favorable results on the pitch. Ferguson was, by all means, an exception. He experimented to find a formula for success. The club was willing to endure a string of sub-par performances to lay foundations for future championships. Therefore, to understand why winning streaks in the Premier League are hard to come by, maybe we must look at the relationship between current clubs and their managers. For a string of losses could see a manager being replaced without hesitation.
Therefore, the foundation for an “era of dominance” in the Premier League is not formed by ending a season on 100 points, nor is it created by having the greatest players. In order to emulate Man United’s dominance under Ferguson, a manager must be given ample time to build a team model with the potential to bring continued success. Thus, in the unforgiving world of the Premier League today, it is safe to assume that British football may not witness another “era of dominance” for some time to come.