Sports

Diehl ’18: Picking an English Premier League team

By
Sports Columnist
Friday, September 25, 2015

It’s September, the NFL — and fantasy football — season is underway, and it’s time for me to write an article about … the English Premier League?

That’s right, because if you haven’t noticed, the Premier League is the new thing to watch. It’s the sport for hipsters, if hipsters even like sports.

According to the league, they have a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion viewers. That means it’s time for you to get on it and pick a team. So help you God if you lose sports cred with your buddies by choosing a team too late, thereby labeling you a poser.

To make your choice easier, I’ll pair each EPL team with its NFL counterpart.

And with that, here are five options to jump start your EPL fandom.

1. Arsenal

Sports Hipster Category: Try-Hard

NFL Team Comparison: New York Giants

The Gunners are from the biggest city in England, have some of the league’s best resources and find a way to frustrate their fans almost every year. Sound like the Giants? They also have an ancient-looking manager who has seemed to be there since the dawn of time. I assume Tom Coughlin and Arsene Wenger are members of the same bridge club.

Arsenal is a very good side, but it hasn’t actually won the league since 2004. So you might think they’re a good side to root for without being a complete sell-out, but we see right through you. Kind of like wearing that Nirvana t-shirt.

2. Aston Villa

Sports Hipster Category: Sad

NFL Team Comparison: Washington Redskins

Aston Villa is an incredibly mediocre side that fails to satisfy its fans in the sizable city of Birmingham. Playing mildly mundane soccer at best and downright unwatchable at worst, they are the perfect counterpart to the Redskins.

If you like to listen to Iron and Wine in your UrbanEars headphones while staring gloomily into a mason jar full of cold brew, then consider flipping open your laptop and watching an Aston Villa game. It’s the missing piece.

3. Bournemouth

Sports Hipster Category: Trendy, but Not Too Trendy

NFL Team Comparison: Oakland Raiders

Have the Raiders been so bad over the past few years that a tiny part of you actually roots for them to win a game? I say yes. Newly promoted Bournemouth has me rooting because it’s the underdog in virtually every match, much like the Raiders.

Bournemouth is that indie band that had one song that got it mentioned on Pitchfork but faded into obscurity. Almost a win-win for hipsters — either they can gloat they knew the team before it blew up, or it remains a guilty pleasure as it toils in soccer darkness.

4. Chelsea

Sports Hipster Category: Sell-Out

NFL Team Comparison: New England Patriots

Either you’re a fan of Chelsea, or you absolutely hate Chelsea. There are no grey areas with the Blues, much like the Patriots. Both of their head coaches make me want to gag. Tom Brady and Diego Costa, Chelsea’s main striker, infuriate opponents and opposing fans enough to make them want to bash their heads against the wall. Excuse me while I put a Band-Aid on my forehead.

If you’re under the age of 30 and you like Chelsea, you’re a bloody sell-out. Never step foot in a local, fair-trade coffee shop ever again.

5. Crystal Palace

Sports Hipster Category: Urban Outfitters-Frequenter

NFL Team Comparison: Miami Dolphins

Over the past few years, Palace has been quietly on the rise. They haven’t gotten too much attention in the process, but with a big-name acquisition in Yohan Cabaye, it seems like London’s smallest Premier League team hopes to make another leap forward. The Dolphins are aiming for the same after scooping up Ndamukong Suh.

Yes, picking Crystal Palace as your team will immediately give you credibility on the surface. So will shopping at Urban Outfitters if you want to look trendy and hipster-y. But soon you will be asking yourself questions like, “Do I really identify with the working-class ethic Crystal Palace possess?” “Should I have stopped shopping at Urban after I graduated high school?” “Can’t I just go to H&M and buy the same clothes for half the price?”

Joe Diehl ’18 is looking for a surgeon to sew up his bloody forehead. Send a price quote to joseph_diehl@brown.edu.

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