Lionel Messi’s success is often diminished by those insisting that he has accomplished everything in just one team and in a system that was formed to suit the Argentinian, one that enables him to shine. Compared to his biggest rival Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi hasn’t proved himself in the Premier League, which many claim to be the toughest league in the world.
However, a number of examples in past years have shown that English teams lack exactly that type of offensive player, confident in both midfield and the front line. This segment of the game is dominated by Spanish players – with so many having arrived from La Liga to the Premier League and immediately contributing to the high level of competition.
The latest amongst them is Pedro, who signed for Chelsea from Barcelona for 30 million euros. The winger scored a goal and provided an assist in his very first game against WBA and continued the run of form in his second game where he added another assist, this one for Radamel Falcao. In only 180 minutes of gameplay, he created eight opportunities for his teammates and was by far the most valuable individual in Jose Mourinho’s team, who have had an awful start to the season.
Last year The Blues won the Premier League title without much hassle, mostly due to Cesc Fabregas, another midfielder who arrived from the Nou Camp. In 34 games the Spaniard provided assists for his teammates 19 times, with the majority going to the fellow countryman Diego Costa, who scored a total of 20 goals. Chelsea haven’t had a domestic playmaker since Frank Lampard and it seems like they won’t be needing one antime soon. Along with the aforementioned Spaniards, William and Oscar from Brazil and Eden Hazard from Belgium have all put in amazing performances at Stamford Bridge.
For the past five years, David Silva has been the main playmaker at Manchester City, who in that period have won two Premier League titles, one FA cup, and one FA Community Shield. The Canary Island-native possesses incredible footwork, seeks out openings on the pitch between opponent lines and feeds his teammates with accurate passes. Since his arrival in England, Silva has been at the top of the statistical lists every year, and it comes as no surprise that he’s started off the year tremendously – with one goal and four assists in four games.
Arsenal also have their own Spaniard who each play starts from. Santi Cazorla plays behind the offense, participates in each of the Gunners’ runs and is equally capable of using both feet. Along with Mesut Ozil and Francis Coquelin he makes up Arsenal’s ‘foreign midfield’. Although standing at only 165cm tall, he has a strong shot and is a threat from the set pieces. Since the start of the season, Cazorla has created 16 chances and a lot of them would have been full-on assists only if Arsenal’s execution was a bit better.
Manchester United have spent over 350 million dollars in the past two years, but their best player is still Juan Mata. Louis Van Gaal strengthened his midfield by signing Ander Herrera a year ago and there is a visibly tremendous difference when one of the Spaniards is not on the field. However, the Dutchman doesn’t usually have them both on the field, which has brought on a number of goalscoring issues– the Devils have scored only three goals in the last 360 minutes.
The Premier League’s remaining top teams, including Tottenham and Liverpool, might not have a Spanish playmaker, but don’t have an Englishman who stands out either. The Three Lions’ biggest potential was Jack Wilshere, who over the course of the years has proven that he’s been vastly overrated.
Misconduct along with frequent injuries have caused the player, once predicted to have a very bright future ahead of him, to lose his spot in Arsenal’s starting lineup. Roy Hodgson recently named his squad for England’s matches against San Marino and Switzerland. His midfielders of choice are Ross Barkley, Jonjo Shelvey, Fabian Delph, Michael Carrick and Ryan Mason – none of whom are even close to the level of Spain’s midfield.
What do you think, are Spanish offensive midfielders really that dominant in England and crucial to winning the league title? Share you thoughts and responds in the comments below.