It is time to reflect on another completed Premier League season, and what a close finish it was, Manchester City clinching the title by just one point on the very last day. If we look in a bit more detail, however, how close was it really? Third placed Chelsea were 26 points behind the winners, that’s the equivalent of more than 8 fewer games won out of 38. That’s not very close.
Over the past decade the points gap between the top and bottom of the English Premier League table has been steadily rising. In 2018/19 it was the biggest ever gap of 82 points, 98 for Manchester City at the top and just 16 for Huddersfield at the bottom. That is an average of over 2 points per game more for Man City than Huddersfield over a 38-game season. Manchester City were 27 wins out of 38 games better than Huddersfield.
For newly promoted teams coming into the English Premier League, this must be a daunting statistic. They must somehow find a way of not being Huddersfield if they are to stay in the top tier for more than one season.
What can the smaller clubs do to try and minimise this enormous gulf in class? They can’t buy their way into the top half… the clubs at the top are, for the most part, already the clubs with the most money. So, they have to rely on other things to make the difference. Some clubs have bucked the trend, most notably Leicester City who won the league in 2015/16 despite having no real stars and a relatively small budget. They did it by paying attention to the small details.
Sometimes, being a small club can be an advantage. Leicester City’s unlikely Premier League Championship in 2015/16 was, in large part, due to the bond between the players, many of whom had been at the club for a few years. With no big stars (at the start of the season anyway… Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez went on to become household names by the end) and no great expectations, they played as a coherent team. They fielded a very settled 11 for much of the season and they played for each other, for the fans and for the club.
Paying attention to the little things is something all clubs can afford; indeed, they can’t afford not to. One of the little things is nutrition. Sheffield United have been promoted to the Premier League for 2019/20 after 12 years in the Championship and League One. During the past 2 years they have implemented improvements in the players food and introduced an education programme for the players about nutrition, making the right food choices and how what they eat affects their performance. They now find themselves reaping the rewards of those efforts with a place at the top table.
Discreet & Delicious can help clubs bridge the gap. By employing one of our Performance Chefs, players can help their club finish as high as it can. The nutritious food can help to make the marginal gains every player is striving for.