The rise of the Premier League has arguably more or less coincided with the decline of the English national team; the league’s ability to attract huge talent from around the world, for higher exposure and more money, has led to higher competition for English players to break into their clubs’ ranks.
A study by BBC Sport has found that less than a third of Premier League players are English, which calls into question the national side’s ability to perform at major tournaments. The sheer quality of the league does, however, speak to the range of overseas talent found here, and acts as one of the best previews for the tournament itself, as the major footballing nations collide on a weekly basis.
So just how much does each of the World Cup favourites influence the Premier League? Here we discuss each impact on the table using League Of Your Own, a website which generates hypothetical Premier League tables based on different variables which affect each match.
With bwin’s odds, the hosts are 4-1 favourites to lift the trophy in their own back yard; this they’ll attempt to pull off with the help of a group of players currently plying their trade in both London and the northwest of England. With the largest contingent of those Brazilian squad members of the past year currently appearing for Chelsea, it’s the Blues who stand to lose out the most if their goals and assists were removed from the league tally.
Without the contributions of David Luiz, Oscar, Ramires and Willian, Chelsea slip down from their current place atop the Premier League, to fourth, allowing Arsenal to take top spot. Manchester City interestingly gains a place while Liverpool would remain second. It remains to be seen whether or not the South American nation, which has a big presence in three of the top four English sides, can maintain their form in this year’s World Cup.
Although only four of the eight German players involved in Premier League goals this season are actually in the international picture, the likes of Lewis Holtby and Robert Huth are sure to make their impact on the national side in the next couple of seasons. Arsenal’s trio of Mertesacker, Podolski and Ozil have each been in and around the goals which have got the Gunners to third place – without them in the team Arsenal would drop to fifth. Chelsea too are at a disadvantage without the services of Andre Schurrle – his six league goals spell the difference between first and third spot which they would otherwise occupy. It’s Ozil in particular who will be under close scrutiny in Brazil this summer since his high-profile move to Arsenal; have the Gunners supplied him with enough ammunition to make his mark on the World Cup?
For odds of 6-1 with bwin, you can expect Argentina to go all the way for the first time since 1986 – but with all eyes likely on Lionel Messi, it might be easy to overlook the help of Man City’s talismanic striker Sergio Aguero, who nonetheless has 26 goals to his name this season. A hypothetical Premier League being played without Argentinians this season doesn’t actually hinder or benefit Manchester City in any way; they remain fourth in the league but notably with seven fewer points. It could be theorised that without Aguero’s tally, those routine drubbings of weaker sides become less comprehensive victories, but victories all the same. Can Aguero continue to produce his astonishing form at the World Cup?
With more than 20 players in the ranks of the Premier League, it’s safe to imagine that the tables would look something different without their contributions to the goals and assists tally. Man City’s Spanish trio of Silva, Navas and Negredo prove necessary in keeping the Sky Blues in contention for a Champions League spot and possible title win – without them City would drop to 7th place. Despite missing out on being selected for their friendly with Italy earlier this month, Fernando Torres will be looking to improve on his four league goals for Chelsea this season, in the hopes that he can get back into the fold; Chelsea would drop to third from top spot without Torres. Another notable Spanish contribution to a Premier League club this season comes from Spurs’ Roberto Soldado, without whom they would topple to 9th place and out of contention for a European spot.