There is an innate arrogance about the supporters of the Premier League assuming it is the hardest in the world. However for every Memphis Depay and Pedro, for whom excuses are being meted out about the Premier League being a lot harder than their previous Dutch and Spanish leagues, there is a Dimitri Payet. Payet the £10.7m West Ham midfielder is arguably the most inform midfielder of the Premier League at present and he is playing only his eleventh game in England on Saturday.
There is a roll call of players who had never previously played in the premier league excelling, leading the line are Southampton with VanDijk, Pelle, Mane and Tadic all excelling instantaneously. People are very quick to criticise the quality of football in the SPL but Virgil VanDijk and Victor Wanyama have both slotted in seamlessly from Celtic.
Gio Wijnaldham at Newcastle has slotted in from the Eredevisie with 6 goals in 10 games and Dmitri Payet(5goals in 10 games) from Ligue1, Leagues that English fans consider inferior leagues in Holland and France respectively.
High profile failures like Shevchenko, Depay and Angel Di Maria often create a biased opinion and a negative narrative, but the notable successes particularly this year of “new” players to the Premier League have clearly outshone any failures.
Diego Costa, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard, Philippe Coutinho, Alexis Sanchez have all excelled immediately in their first seasons in England and hit the road running.
The adjustment time period is often overly used as an excuse, as these aforementioned players have clearly shown. For every Mateja Kezman or Shevchenko and DiMaria that have flopped in this league, there is a multitude of successes like Zola, Gullit, Vialli, Klinsman who all took to the league like ducks to water.
Eric Dier, Christian Eriksen, Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen have all excelled at Spurs and yet the Soldado’s, Paulinho’s, Capoue’s and Lamela’s always get more media attention.
The recent performances in the Champions League and Europa League by British teams also suggests the Premier League is not as dominant or difficult as often suggested. For all their physical attributes, British teams and players have been found out for their tactical and technical inadequacies. Given the vast financial gulf between the revenues accrued in England and elsewhere, the performance in Europe of late has been fairly dismal.
Equally notably managers who had previously never managed in the Premier League have slotted in seamlessly. Michael Laudrup won Swansea’s first ever major trophy in the clubs history in 2013 (the League Cup). Equally in his first season Mauricio Pochettinio excelled at Southampton, Ronald Koeman has excelled from day one with no prior Premier League experience. Slaven Bilic although played in the League he has taken to Premier League management exquisitely in his first year in England. Equally Quique Sanchez Flores, another newcomer is excelling at Watford instantaneously.
Notably Roberto Mancini, Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez, Manuel Pellegrini all won major trophies in their very first year in the Premier League.
Obviously some of the successes and the failures maybe premature in this article as we are only ten games in, however it is very notable how the coefficient of success of “new” players and managers far outweighs the much publicised failures.