Welcome back to a slightly different dose of Joining the Dots… As we wade into the murky waters which constitute the international break, only playing some games will do to relieve the boredom while we wait for the conclusion of the Premier League season. I think it’s time to assign each Premier League team to an international one, probably with the most unconvincing and flimsiest of connections possible.
Watford play in yellow. So do Sweden. This is the deep level of matchmaking you can come to expect in this article. Of course, there should be a bit more than kit colours though. The team from Vicarage Road are pretty much known solely for their well-built striker Troy Deeney, and when everyone thinks of Sweden, thoughts immediately turn to big Zlatan Ibrahimovic. I am by no means condoning a direct comparison of the pair’s abilities, in any case whatsoever.
Moving across London, Spurs resemble the talents of the Belgium national team – quite literally. Having the entire central defence in Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld certainly helps when imitating a national squad. In addition, though, I think it’s fair to say that everyone has a bit of a soft spot for Spurs and Belgium, unless you’re an Arsenal fan or a Swiss chocolatier.
MANCHESTER CITY… GERMANY
The cream of the crop this season, Manchester City, have been respectively paired off predictably with Germany. City’s unity with the Germans is fairly self-explanatory – both occupy the number 1 spots and instill a lot of fear into their opponents when the time comes to face them.
MANCHESTER UNITED… NETHERLANDS
On the other hand, United, a fantastic side for so many years, currently have to use Marcus Rashford. Yorke and Cole to Rashford and Lingard. Bergkamp and van Basten to Bas Dost and Narsingh. That’s all you really need to know about that decision.
All of Brazil’s flair over the years can be compared to the PL team currently displaying the most flair in Liverpool. Interestingly, neither team can really appear to defend.
Let’s move on to some pretty crude comparisons.
Leicester City will ever be truly remembered for is their miraculous Premier League win in 2015/16, and all that the Greece national team will be remembered for is somehow winning Euro 2004.
Newcastle have been paired with Australia, simply because nobody would really fancy a trip to play an away game at either venue. They’re far away, and the match is going to be dreadful.
WEST HAM… RUSSIA
To round off these easy choices, who would likely reach the final of a worldwide talent competition, if the only talent allowed was hooliganism? Russia and West Ham, of course.
Who plays for the Turkish national team? Most people probably couldn’t name you one. Same goes for Brighton. We all know they are fairly competent sides, but could you really identify any of their key players? Doubtful.
Everton have perennially lived in the shadow of Liverpool. Quite literally, when the sun is in a certain position, it probably does cast Anfield’s shadow over Goodison Park. This is quite like the relationship between Scotland and England – two nations which are clumped together as one nation in geography lessons, but in terms of football couldn’t be further apart. Of course, with England achieving bigger success, you do wonder what on earth the state of Scottish football must be if England can be considered the far better team. Anyway, Scotland and Everton go together, sharing their possession of significant footballing neighbours.
Onto England themselves, only Arsenal could be the team for them. Both work on paper. Both play in flashy grounds. Both harbour huge fan expectations. And they always both fall as flat as paper in the rain once the time comes to perform.
In terms of having a solid defence, only Burnley could be the PL side which measures up to Italy’s traditionally effective defenders. Burnley have conceded fewer goals than Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal this season, but unfortunately have an attack with as little bite as Gabbiadini for the Italians.
On the south coast, Bournemouth are normally remembered only for their heroic performances against the huge teams, including their recent 3-1 rout of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge recently. For this, they can only be compared to Iceland, who managed a memorably shocking win over England at Euro 2016.
Chelsea themselves can only be compared to France – a team full of stars who should, in theory, be challenging the most powerful teams. Sometimes they might be successful, but they can never establish a reign of dominance.
USA failed to qualify for the World Cup this year, just as Southampton failed to leave any lasting impression from their 30 Premier League games so far. Both sides are currently occupying the height of irrelevance.
WEST BROM… PERU
West Brom – the bad boys of the PL. This goes for off-pitch behaviour, as well as footballing ability at the moment. Their escapades in Barcelona can only be matched by the multiple disciplinary issues surrounding the Peru national side – who have been involved in banned casino trips, nightclubs and drinking before major tournaments.
Here goes then – the final four teams. I think they all deserve to go together.
CRYSTAL PALACE… SWITZERLAND
HUDDERSFIELD… SOUTH KOREA
All four of these PL outfits are there, simply to ensure that the Premier League remains a competition involving 20 teams. Similarly, the nations mentioned are only involved in the World Cup so that the groups are the correct size, and Cristiano Ronaldo has some teams to score against before Portugal go home.