What’s the most popular sport in the world? Key word: world. Not in America, where baseball is the “national pastime” and Sundays are reserved for football. Worldwide, soccer is the most popular sport. Unfortunately, few Americans know about the teams of the most followed league on the planet: the Barclays Premier League. But fear not, American sports fan, there is hope. You can figure out which Premier League squad to root for based on your American sports preferences. Follow this guide and you’ll be well on your way to rooting for Manchester United… or Blackburn.
You are a Yankees fan. You get to experience championships and marquee signings, and you also draw the ire and hatred of thousands for your commitment to a team that’s nearly always successful. Manchester United’s big players, big paychecks and a big name mirror those of the Yankees. The high expectations can also lead to great disappointments, as even a small falter away from the team’s “championship every year” game plan is unacceptable. As a United fan, you will be guaranteed a solid team with great chances at the beginning of every year, but be aware of the “fair weather fan” label that you’re unlikely to shed for the rest of your life.
If a Man United fan likes the Yankees, then a Man City fan likes the Mets. The in-town rivalry applies, and City has played under United’s shadow for years, just like the Mets. But in some ways Manchester City is more like the Miami Heat. Man City brings multiple superstars together through a big payroll, and then combines them in a squad in hopes that they gel together. This strategy can work, and it can also be an over-priced disaster. This year, City seems to have come together and is off to the best start in the league, just as the Heat has combined James, Wade and Bosh into a powerful force. But beware: come crunch time these teams can crumble into selfish, dejected complainers as quickly as they were put together.
If your name is Stephen Skiles or you love a high-powered offense, Arsenal is for you. Think the Kansas Chiefs of 2003 or the Phoenix Suns behind Steve Nash. Scoreless draws are never a problem, it’s the lack of a defense that is concerning. The flowing, passing, aggressive style of offense that Arsenal plays is always entertaining. There’s never a dull moment. Don’t expect many championships, though. The Arsenal Gunners haven’t won any type of a cup since 2005, and that appears unlikely to change this year. But with a broad fan base and powerful offensive attack, the Gunners are vying for your attention.
Yes, Blackburn. You’re probably wondering how a team such as Blackburn makes it on this list next to the Manchester giants and the powerful Arsenal. That’s because the Blackburn Rovers are the Premier League equivalent of your Kansas City Royals. Each year, dedicated fans set lofty expectations and raise their hopes for the upcoming season. And each year, the fans are disappointed and dejected. Both teams are capable of success, Blackburn won the league in 1995 and the Royals won in 1985, but success is infrequent, at best. In order to stay in your comfort zone, support the underdog Blackburn. So what if they don’t win all the time? If you’re a Royals fan, you can handle it.