Why The Premier League is Different: The Intensity of the EPL
Few things are more common sense among footballers than the fact that the English Premier League has something special about it.
The EPL is a different tournament. And I don’t mean some obvious things, for example, the number of fouls, the difference in style of the referees, comparing, for example, with La Liga.
It might be a weird way to summarize it, but it almost looks like the players care more about what they’re doing! The Beautiful Game is far more intense than at any domestic league in the world.
When the EPL was popularizing some 15 years ago back in the era of the first big team of Chelsea with Mourinho, I remember an interview of Florent Malouda mentioning that he was surprised when he moved to London: the nutritionists of Chelsea told him that it was ok to drink Coca Cola, because he would spend a lot of energy on the pitch.
I have no idea if that is still the case and how rigorous the nutrition staff of the clubs are these days. But we can’t argue that Ligue 1 can hardly compete with the Prem in terms of how much energy footballers get to spend. It’s just beautiful to watch, every game is a fierce battle like nowhere else in the world.
But there’s quite a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure the players are fit and ready for every battle (or match) in each game week of the English Premier League. Doctors, physiologists, nutritionists, and fitness staff determine the best set of exercises for each player according to age and other factors, there’s quite a lot of work between the matches to make sure we get to see the best spectacle possible.
To a person that isn’t a professional athlete, the question may be just how often you should eat, but when it comes to footballers at the top flight, there are several other questions around it, such as what exactly they need to eat, what are the best protein supplements and several other questions such as sleep cycles, dosing enzymes and a myriad of measurements of their performances.
If football evolved to such a physical battle, especially in the EPL and other big competitions like the Champions League, where English teams are big protagonists, this is due to the work of several professionals behind the scenes, not to mention the commitment of the players themselves.
The Future of Player Fitness in the EPL
Most veteran fans that follow the sport since the 20th century could predict that some stuff was going to evolve when it comes to preparing the players to do their best on the pitch, but the degree of commitment required to be a professional these days is probably unthinkable for anyone following football in the 80s or the 90s.
Some players like Cristiano Ronaldo take fitness and professional behaviour to an extreme level, but even the average players just must take the job seriously if they want to play in the EPL or the 5 big leagues of Europe.
The future of the sport should be evermore interesting as science evolves and more tools are given to the professionals behind the fitness of our favourite stars of the beautiful game in the EPL.