By Hornswoggle V. to the R.
What is this nonsense?
I know that some of you in this prestigious league get up at the “ass crack of dawn” to kit yourself up and watch Premier League games at home or your supporters’ team bar. Others are thinking, “What is this ‘Premier League’ and how come I’ve never heard of it?” It’s a football—that’s right, the proper word, as most Americans use soccer—league based in the United Kingdom, comprised of mostly English teams. It’s called the Premier League because it’s the top tier of football in the country, and many superstars have come and gone in this era, which started in 1991.
How does the Premier League work, you might ask? As the top tiered league in England, there is a huge responsibility of staying in. Take a brief look at the chart below. If a team is in the bottom three by the end of the season, it faces relegation to a lower tier called the Football League Championship. Conversely, if a team finds itself in the top five, it receives a privilege to play in a tournament of elite teams throughout Europe. The top four are placed in the UEFA (European) Champions League (CL) tournament; the fifth-placed squad is placed in the UEFA Europa League tournament, essentially CL’s half-brother.
With all that explained, I would call BTSH the Premier League of street hockey in New York City, much because of its exclusivity and quality, e.g., “Teams want people who aren’t dicks and also are pretty good at the sport.” Only a handful of gifted and social folks get plucked out of the free agent scrimmage annually, and everyone knows why as the season rolls along. How did I meet so many awesome people who are most likely professional at work, mostly professional playing here, and approachable at the bar? It’s because of this league; you’ll have no experience like this anywhere else.
Note that team comparisons are generally arbitrary: I organized this list based on instinct and matching up stuff willy-nilly. Obviously there will be disagreements from the more fervent Premier League fans, and I’ll relish it! On with the list, then.
Rankings are through Week 36 of the 2015-16 Premier League season.
19th: Norwich City has enjoyed some success in the Premier League, but not so consistently. Like Gut Rot, Mega Touch has a squad whose members are long standing friends who enjoy the camaraderie and the spirit of BTSH, and aren’t afraid to admit they don’t have a stacked squad. Akin to bright yellow-green uniforms, Mega Touch will be sporting some jorts once a season.
And here are your detailed comparisons:
The Relegation Zone
20th: Someone has to be last…and unfortunately Gut Rot is that team. Much like Gut Rot, Aston Villa’s Villans know who they are in the Premier League, and their motto is, “Prepared”. Anyone who knows Ellery G. is cognizant that he is almost always prepared to party, and that’s why his team is much adored. Fortunately, relegation only exists within divisions, so we’ll be seeing Ellery forever.
18th: Sunderland AFC doesn’t have a starting XI that sticks out, and Cobra Kai’s starting lineup may not look intimidating. But there are players (like Rachel L., the league’s fifth-leading female goal scorer in 2015) who shake things up, just like the former Toronto FC striker and England international, Jermain Defoe. Sunderland has the wherewithal to extricate itself from the drop zone, just as “The Dojo” can succeed in adversity. Can they do it this season?
Latter half of safety
17th: Rounding off the latter half of the mid-table teams is Newcastle United, which has certainly made a stink in the 15-16 season with constant battles between management and fans. Former manager Pardew’s departure for Crystal Palace has made things difficult, but a Doumbia-Cisse-Shelvey triumvirate can be potent if the chemistry is right. Match that to a rising Poutine Machine squad, whose first line (Ramos-Sullivan-Provencher) can turn into an effective strikeforce against teams.
15th: AFC Bournemouth hasn’t done badly for itself, being the new squad in this year’s top flight, and considering that promotion accompanies money to buy talented players. Bournemouth’s Gradel and Iturbe (former AS Roma winger) are speedy, just like Bill L., who leads the Dark Rainbows’ squad with six goals. If Bill is healthy and the work ethic is high for players like Aaron F. and goalie Kevin L., the Rainbows will be tough competition for anyone.
14th: West Brom has players the team can count on (Rondon, Berahino, Sessegnon), but producing week in and week out can be a challenge. The Butchers watched one of their best, Ben B., hop over to Filthier, who would go on to become champions, all in the same season. However, who knows if Rachel G.’s very first goal this season can open up the floodgates for the rest of the team? Let’s hope so.
13th: Losing Jonjo Shelvey and Wilfried Bony to Newcastle and Manchester City respectively, Swansea still looms as a threat to some teams, but the loss of key players can be bitter pills to swallow at times. The Gremlins have suffered the departure of one of their prolific scorers, Brian H., who defected to [The] Fuzz, but have wily veteran representation in Mark M. and John W. as leadership.12th: Watford has been a breath of fresh air this season: the newly promoted team’s strikeforce of Ighalo, Ibarbo, and helmsman Deeney have ripped it past keepers more than 10 times each. Instant Karma—under the leadership of Ben “Chadtrick” C.—has the potential to shock people. Never mind how the team was made; a younger, faster squad is crucial to rising up the ranks and making a splash.
The better half of safety
11th: Although Everton lost one of their star players in Scottish international Steven Naismith to Norwich City, they stumbled to an FA Cup semifinal, which they unfortunately lost, to Manchester United. But they seemed to have an image of standing still this season, and the Sky Fighters, in spite of their current 3-1 record, have lost a significant piece of their identity in now-Californian Dan H. Everton’s Romelu Lukaku is not unlike Roman T. of the Sky Fighters; they’re both tanks. Watch out.
10th: The Stoke City Potters—at least when I’ve watched them play my beloved Reds—have predominantly and collectively shown a belligerent kind of swagger in their gameplay. Their insistence on being physical knows no bounds, especially with the likes of captain Shawcross, central midfielder Adam, and winger Arnautovic. Nevertheless, these are talented personnel, and I think [The] Fuzz shapes itself into this mold. Even though perennial goal machine Gil V. shows up consistently, there begs the question of whether the whole [The] Fuzz squad will show up week after week; I get the same impression with Stoke City.
9th: Now who loves good ol’ Chelsea? Certainly the Spurs don’t. The way Stamford Bridge’s Blues have carried themselves in the past five years (they have won the Europa League, Champions League, FA Cup, and the Premier League), they have shown a considerable amount of class. I would say the same for LBS, Inc., who clinched the PBR Cup for the first time in the Tompkins era. Notably, Courtois has kept games interesting for the Chelsea side this season, and in the same way, former commissioner Timmy B. still minds the net with due diligence.8th: Many people would say right now that Liverpool’s going through a rebuilding phase. Seeing Luis Suarez take the money and run to Barcelona was devastating for fans, and I’m sure for Mathematics, valedictions for Andy P. back then were emotional. But rebirth exists in consistent attendance (namely, a lot of Norri and a couple of Stewarts, and then throw in Joey B.) that translates into your well-rounded squad. And like Liverpool, they were screwed of a 2014 title.
7th: While no well-informed Premier League fan would be surprised that Southampton would be at the top half of the table, I think a lot of people in BTSH should feel the same about the Gouging Anklebiters making their way as an elite squad. Albeit not quietly—particularly because netminder Craig L. loves ribbing at Fuzz’s Rich G. (for the lack of getting laid, to put it succinctly)—forays into postseason games have become apparent and, in the same vein, seeing Southampton playing in European competition should be a matter of time.
6th: West Ham United doesn’t have prolific goal scorers, but those goals have been evident in the race towards gaining the privilege of playing in the Europa League. They have won contests against hot teams, including Manchester City, Tottenham, and Arsenal. The Rehabs went through a phenomenal playoff run in 2015 by edging Math and handily crushing Sky Fighters, but falling precipitously to Filthier in the championship game. With the knowledge their squad is capable this season (especially by exacting revenge on Filthier on opening day this year), their persistence will make teams topple. And with Eric R. in net, title hopes are possible.
5th: Look at the most despised teams in the Premier League, and first choice for anyone might be Chelsea (associated with bad boy Diego Costa, or “Mr. Shag Your Wife” John Terry). But ever since the Premier League era started, Manchester United has won the most titles: 13. Six seasons ago, the Corlears Hookers faced the ultimate defeat to a team that wore electric lime (we were so “Happy” back then!). But the crew in royal purple won their first championship three years later—to which everyone shrugged their shoulders—and still come back every season winning a lot of their games, wanting more. It’s this kind of incessant behavior that makes this team a top five one.
3rd: Let’s pick a different color this time… oh, red! Arsenal is the petulant stepbrother of Chelsea; they’re from different parts of London, and one of them has a superiority complex it can actually carry out (hint: it’s not Arsenal). Some big changes must happen if they want to confidently pound their chests… like sacking their current manager, Arsene Wenger. Another team in red, the Denim Demons, experienced a huge change of Coach heading to “fuzzier” pastures, and much to Fuzz’s chagrin, it’s brought the Demons success, since they’re currently 3-1 for the season. #COYD, Adam?
2nd: Making our way to North London, we’ll find a team whose superstar is pacing in White Hart Lane with “what-ifs” speeding through his thoughts. Harry Kane and Tottenham Hotspur were so close, and Leicester was in striking distance! Then Chelsea’s Eden Hazard connected on a half volley, and it was all over. The difference between the Spurs and Filthier, though, is that Filthier showed up for their most important game, but the similarity is that both teams face the same amount of ire and disgust because they’re labeled as “super” teams (well, maybe not so much for the Spurs). Filthier has kept their roster intact, save for Ben B. and Jenna C., who are pickaxing through the Rockies for some Coors Light. Filthier is the kind of squad that, much like the Spurs, would laugh at anyone’s attempts to score against them. They’re that good.
There’s one particular Riots player I personally want to give a shout out: to the Asian dude who wears glasses, because he hardly shows that he’s tired and gives 100% on every shift. He doesn’t give up on a play and will almost always backcheck the “f” out of anyone. That kid is awesome.
Cheers to everyone who likes footy already… and if you currently don’t, well, come on then!