Man City Club Focus – QPR battle epitomises everything good about English football

Despite Sky Sports’ insistence, the Premier League is not the most competitive in the world. For the dozen-or-so sides for whom the sole ambition is to be in the division next season, it can be an unremittingly bleak place. Victories against sides of similar stature are eked out in turgid matches, fought in provincial towns on cold, dark winter afternoons. Trips to the title-chasers and Champions League aspirants are fruitless. Victories are rare and hopes are eroded as the nights draw in. It is a world in which money dominates, and success is cyclical. Success breeds success; failure breeds failure. The chasm between the haves and have-nots is ever-widening.

However, at its best, English football is revered throughout the world. There remains a charm, a global admiration for the emphasis teams put on attack, and the optimism infused in all. The most compelling Premier League games resemble the most engrossing of heavyweight boxing championship bouts. Caution and the stultifications imposed by rigid tactics are flung out of the window as champion and underdog alike trade devastating blow for devastating blow without the slightest regard for the other’s reputation. Loftus Road was a relentlessly optimistic place, the two sets of support matching each other vocally as their teams fought it out on the pitch, creating the type of passionate, loud atmosphere which is sadly all too rarely witnessed in England any more.

Manchester City’s trip to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday evening epitomised exactly why English football, for all its idiosyncrasies, is enduringly loved. Sure, the romantic ending did not materialise. Eventually, the richer, stronger, bigger team emerged victorious by three goals to two. However, their victory was earned in the face of a fiercely competitive challenge by ambitious, attack-minded opponents, worried little by City’s status as league-leaders.

For a while, it looked as though Sky Sports’ self-serving clich

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