EPL: Are The Top Teams Getting Better, or Are Opponents Getting Worse?

Karen PatelCorrespondent IAugust 21, 2010

WIGAN, ENGLAND - AUGUST 21:  Frank Lampard of Chelsea celebrates victory after the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Chelsea at DW Stadium on August 21, 2010 in Wigan, England.  (Photo by Getty Images for Chelsea FC)
Getty Images for Chelsea FC/Getty Images

Chelsea 6, West Brom 0. Wigan 0, Chelsea 6. Arsenal 6, Blackpool 0.

Three games, 18 goals.  It is astonishing really.  For a league that is often championed as "the best in the world" you would think contests would be a little less one-sided.

The Premier League still throws up the odd delicious surprise every now and then, look at Blackpool last week beating Wigan 4-0. A week later however, the newly promoted Tangerines disappointingly capitulate to Arsenal.  Chelsea has managed to score 12 goals in two games without reply.  It begs the question: are the top teams getting better, or are their opponents just getting worse?

Finance has obviously played a part in this—Chelsea's billions will obviously attract more quality players while the Wigans of this world try and get a jewel from the bargain basement.  The English Premier League is all about money now, and that's just the way it is.

However, what English football has always been famous for is fighting spirit.  The FA Cup is testament to that.  It warms the cockles when a non-league side ends up in the third round of the competition, and you can see parks filled to capacity with fans and the players fighting tooth and nail in the biggest game of their lives.

From what I've seen, that spirit is diminishing in the Premier League.  When teams face the Chelseas and Manchester Uniteds of this world, 80 percent of the time they are almost resigned to defeat as they let their more affluent opponents make mince meat of them. At best, they'll have a rally at the beginning of each half but ultimately they run out of steam.

This is not always the case of course. There will always be shocks and that's what keeps the league interesting. Take Burnley's 1-0 win over Manchester United last season.

However, the regularity of these comprehensive wins worries me. It proves that the gap between the top and the bottom is getting wider.  People say that Manchester City's new money is refreshing and makes the league less predictable. In my opinion, it is more predictable than ever.