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Sunday, 15 May 2022
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Portuguese Primeira Liga – The Sleeping Giant of European Football
Liga Portugal Bwin or the Portuguese Premier League acts as the top division of Portuguese football. Initially founded in 1934 as an experimental tournament, the league has been functioning under its current name since 1999.
The division since the 2014/15 season consists of 18 teams across Portugal, prior to which 16 teams competed in the division.
At the end of each season, the top two teams directly qualify to the Champions League, while the 3rd place teams enter the qualifiers to earn their spot in the tournament.
While the 4th place team and the Taça de Portugal winners or the 5th place team (if any of the top 4 teams win the Taça de Portugal), makes it to the Europa League.
The following two teams in the table meanwhile, will earn a spot in the qualifiers of the Conference League.
Having ranked as low as 10th in the UEFA rankings in the 2008/09 season. The league has had quite a significant rise in standards over the last few years, getting past the top division in the nations of Ukraine, Russia, Romania and the Netherlands.
Despite ranking 14th in the revenue generated by football leagues across the world, the division has been punching above its weight in terms of performances, as they are only behind the top 5 leagues in terms of UEFA ranking.
The league has achieved this kind of success despite the lack of support outside the cities of Lisbon and Porto and stadium capacities as low as 5000.
It is the level of quality the league has achieved despite these obstacles that have made many consider the Portuguese top-flight as the sleeping giant in club football.
What does the Portuguese top-flight offer to its viewers and punters?
The Big Three or Os Três Grandes is the collective nickname for the three biggest and most successful clubs in Portugal namely, Benfica, Porto and Sporting CP.
These three clubs generally end up finishing in the top three positions and only twice have other clubs won the top title in Portugal. Belenenses of Lisbon in 1945–46 and Boavista from Porto in 2000–01.
Furthermore, those three are the only clubs to have played in every season of the competition. This shows the dominance these cities have had in the division.
Out of the Os Três Grandes, Porto has been the most dominant side on the international stage, while Benfica has been the most decorated side domestically, while their cross-town rivals Sporting has had a significant history of success as well.
These three teams are significantly ahead in terms of fan support which has made them retain their quality and dominance. Along with dominating the league, their presence are felt in the UEFA competitions regularly as well.
The other teams in the division have always struggled to match up to these teams both financially and in terms of quality. So much so that most people in Portugal support one of these along with their local clubs.
The league ranks 12th in terms of average attendance with 7818 in the 1013-14 season. This is one of the most concerning factors of the division and football in general in the nation.
However, these stats might not reflect the real scenario of the situation given the size of Portugal. Countries with a much more significant population such as Russia are just ahead of this figure, while Poland and Ukraine are behind this figure. The attendance in Portugal however, is on the rise along with the other aspects of football in the nation.
Coming to things on the field, the league has been in a battle with Ligue 1 over the past few years for the 5th position in terms of league rankings. Currently, however; they are ranked 6th in the continent by UEFA in the coefficient ranking.
Liga Portugal Bwin has been long known for its rock-solid defense with the teams giving a large emphasis to clean sheets and as a result have produced world-class goalkeepers and defensive-minded players over the years with the likes of Ederson, Jan Oblak, Rui Patrício, Rúben Dias, João Cancelo and Pepe just to name a few.
With this style of gameplay, the league has conceded the least goals on average among the top 10 leagues in the world with a figure of 2.41 per game. This is slightly better than Ligue 1 and well clear of the record from the Bundesliga.
The style of play in Portugal is highly physical which has resulted in few terming the division being short of discipline with a discipline coefficient of 6.45 which is the least among the top 10 leagues.
This can further be supported by the fact, the league receives an average of 5.22 yellow cards per game and 0.41 sending offs in a game, which again is the highest on the list.
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With the emphasis given to defense more than any other nation or league and with few teams breaking such norms with ideologies new to the division, the league is undergoing an evolving phase.
High scoring games can be witnessed more often than ever before. This has led to the league delivering top class attacking talents like André Silva, João Félix, Diogo Jota etc. However, it would be difficult for the normal eye to miss out on such teams breaking the barrier.
Along with this, few teams have given importance to the technical aspect of the game and have strived under a possession-based game. Bernardo Silva and Renato Sanches are a few of the midfield maestros the league has blessed the world of football with.
With a different style of gameplay which we rarely witness in other leagues and not much attention given by the media, it might be very difficult for viewers and punters to get an insight into one of the most entertaining leagues.
That is why our team goes into detail about every team, manager, player, tactic and the effect the sum of the parts bring on to the field, to arrive with crisp previews, informative h2h history and the most reliable betting tips.
All you need to do is relax while enjoying the action on the field and count on us to deliver with the tips and more at least 48 hours before the fixture.