Written by Matt_G-Freebody for FootballFancast.com: Today in football there is more of a call than ever before for fans to be entertained. Perhaps the rise in match day prices is the cause or the years spent by fans watching the likes of Spain and Brazil play beautiful flowing football. The call of England to adopt a more entertaining and free flowing game has beckoned and generally from the Premier League down the Football Leagues, there are more teams playing football on the floor than the old hoof ball that was so common in our football culture.
So, who are the most entertaining teams in the English Premier League over the current season? What team likes to pass and move with fluidity or likes a fast counter attack to set the pulses racing? Or what team isn’t so nice to watch? Perhaps they may favour the more direct approach of getting the ball into the final third of the pitch as quickly as possible.
Entertaining football however, does not guarantee you will win games and some teams play to their strengths, which may not be as pleasing on the eye like a Barcelona team of all-stars, but they get the best out of their players with victories.
I am a fan of the total football style of play that the Dutch made famous in the 1970s but I also respect the Italian catenaccio, which focuses on a more defensive approach to the game. So as I go through the teams in the EPL this season, with a brief description, I will be rating them on the scale 1 to 10 on entertaining value, 1 = dull and 10 = engaging.
Arsenal – Known for playing football in “the right way” by many fans and pundits alike, Arsene Wenger has nurtured this current Arsenal squad into playing some of the purist football out of any of his sides. However, that is proving to be their downfall as they are often accused of not being able to ‘win ugly’. Despite their trophyless years, at least Arsenal fans can boast playing very entertaining football that involves smart and technical passing and movement as well as fast counter attacks. Entertainment value – 9/10.
Aston Villa – Under the management of Martin O’Neill, Villa were more prone to the direct ball over the top, using the likes of Emile Heskey and John Carew as a target man, with the likes of Ashley Young and Gabby Agbonlahor using their pace on the wings. To some it wasn’t pretty on the eye and since Gerard Houllier’s arrival, Villa are more prone to keeping the ball on the floor using a mixed style of passing. However, the change in managerial style has affected their League form, but they have the potential to be more entertaining than results suggest. Entertainment value – 6/10.
Birmingham City – The Blues are more rigid than fluid, but it has earned them a few good results this season with the League Cup final win over Arsenal the biggest highlight. They have been guilty of relying on the height of Nikola Zigic up front too much for the football purists’ liking but it is rather effective. However, their firm play under Alex McLeish does not make it a hugely enjoyable game of football at times. Entertainment value – 4/10.
Blackburn Rovers – ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce had them playing the direct approach to the game, hard to beat at the back and using set-pieces to their advantage. It worked for Bolton for many seasons and it seemed to be working for Blackburn, until the new owners thought they could do better with promoting coach Steve Kean to the job as manager. Perhaps, the football under the managerial rookie is a bit more versatile, but they’ve still failed to impress many with their football style. Entertainment value – 3/10.
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