Are Europe's biggest leagues changing for the better?

Spanish Fans

Did last season’s emergence of Liverpool and Atlético Madrid signify the dawn of a new era?

The English Premier League and Spanish La Liga league tables had an unusual finale this season.

As things approached completion, unfamiliar competitors starred in their respective title chases, adding a new dynamic to an ever-familiar scenario. It not only added a seasoning of new excitement, but was also quite refreshing.

In England, Liverpool emerged and sustained an almost title winning campaign, narrowly falling short on the season’s final day to Manchester City.

Similarly in Spain, the less illustrious Madrid side of Atlético successfully surpassed their Galáctico rivals, while also usurping top spot from title holders Barcelona.

Furthermore, before their season is finished, Atlético take part in the Champions League final; the first Spanish side other than the prominent two to feature in the showpiece since Valencia’s 2000/01 appearance.

Followers of the Premiership are used to seeing the same clutch of sides battle for the top two positions. However, Liverpool’s progress this season means there is another contender added to the mix.

The dominance of Spain’s most famous duo also stretches out; 2007/08 was the last time both sides failed to secure positions one and two, with the last unfamiliar league winner coming a full decade before.

Were the leagues in need of reinvigoration? Perhaps not in a commercial traffic sense, as both leagues are unlikely to suffer a viewing exodus any time soon. However, from an entertainment sense, certainly.

Football's magnetism emanates from its unpredictability. An FA Cup matchup between a chancing non-league outfit and a Premier League giant is entertaining because, until the final whistle, the magic of the cup sets in.

Goliath should trample his diminutive opponent, but there is a chance the distinctly inferior combatant has a trick up his sleeve, a pocket full of luck, or a dead-eye for the target. If the underdog didn’t stand a chance, the game would lose its allure.

It is this element of unpredictability that has reinvigorated the foremost leagues of Europe.

Although only one of the two new challengers achieved their goal, their journey could inspire other unfamiliar teams to emerge, devoid of trepidation.

These teams might not boast the best players, but the new belief that they could emulate the recent past's dominant sides might be enough to increase the competition, thus making each league more unpredictable and, therefore, more exciting.

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