A VICE Sports Guide to How to Pick an English Premier League Team Guide

It's that time of year again when Americans look ahead at the sports calendar and suddenly wonder which English Premier League team they should support. But how to choose how to choose?

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Aug 6 2015, 12:55pm

(Ed. note: This week, VICE Sports previews the start of the 2015 Premier League Season. You can find all the stories here.)

It's that time of year again—namely, August—when Americans look ahead at the sports calendar and suddenly wonder which English Premier League team they should support.Thankfully, journalism comes to the rescue once again with a content strategy aimed at this specific sort of American sports fan.

Read More: VICE Sports Premier League Team by Team Preview: The Middle Ground

But the media's desire to help now presents a new problem. Which guide should be used? Sifting through them can be daunting, which is why we here at VICE Sports have created the Guide to How to Choose an EPL Team Guide for all of your guide-choosing needs. Let us guide you to the guides.

"Choosing My EPL Team," Bill Simmons, ESPN (2006)

A classic of the genre. Simmons set some ground rules for himself: no bandwagons, no "tortured teams," no hooligans, no lame celebrity fans. He then weeded out potential relegation fodder and compared Sheffield United to the 2005 Atlanta Hawks, which is just perfect in every way. He also forces you to go to a second page "for dramatic purposes" which is a reminder of simpler times when the phrase "content strategy" had yet to be invented.

Pandering to Americans quotient: very high. Notes include "Instead of 'captain' and 'coach,' they use the words 'skipper' and 'manager' in the EPL." Every team features "American comparison" section and constant references to American sports. Calling Theo Walcott "the LeBron of the EPL" is particularly inspired.

Usefulness: medium-high. Some of the information is dated, but the logic still stands. Simmons had solid priorities—just do a little follow-up research to get up to speed,

Which EPL team is this guide to picking an EPL team most like? Liverpool: it'll do, I suppose, but you're a decade past the good stuff.

"Your Guide to Picking a Favorite Premier League Team," Nate Scott, For the Win (2013)

They seem to do these every so often. Rather than fabricate an arbitrary scoring system or some such, they went with the made-up hypothetical: "If [scenario], then root for [team]." Which, fine. Whatever. I've written things in the past purely for money, too. No shame in that. We all gotta make a living.

"IF YOU STILL CONSIDER YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW THE SIMPSONS, GET ON THE MANCHESTER UNITED BANDWAGON"

WHAT?! The Simpsons is a timeless classic that we can enjoy forever and has nothing to do with Manchester United. How dare you, Nathan.

Pandering to Americans quotient: low. Very few if any references to American sports. Could easily work for members of other nations that also don't like soccer, such as...India?

Usefulness: low. "Endless delight from grumpy middle-aged Portuguese men" is a tautological prior for being a Chelsea fan. Might as well write, "A fan of Jose Mourinho, the manager of Chelsea."

Which EPL team is this guide to picking an EPL team most like? Sunderland: they keep coming back every year and nobody knows how or why.

"Which English Premier League Team Should You Support?" Robin Edds, BuzzFeed (2014)

Do note the publication date: April 14th. Why would anyone be looking for an EPL team a month shy of the season's end? I'm sure there's an algorithm much smarter than me with an answer to that.

Also note that this is a quiz, so you won't have to go through the painstaking effort of selecting a team yourself. Just take this brief personality test and BuzzFeed will determine who you should root for based on, I can only presume, an advanced algorithm assessing millions of EPL fan demographics. So instead of answering one question, I now answer eight of them, including:

Pandering to Americans quotient: medium. This panders to everyone.

Usefulness: medium. Although the answers are randomly generated based on, among other things, whether I think Ross and Rachel were on a break, it's no less scientific than any other method for choosing a club.

Which EPL team is this guide to picking an EPL team most like? Manchester City: so much money behind it, they can afford to miss nine times out of ten.

"What Premier League Club Are You?" Alex Magdaleno, BuzzFeed (2015)

Didn't like that other BuzzFeed quiz? No problem, here's another BuzzFeed quiz about the exact same topic.

Wait, this is just asking you to pick an EPL team. It is showing you a bunch of teams, and asking you to pick one.

Also, if you selected Jack Grealish, you got some weird shit going on.

Pandering to Americans quotient: medium. This panders to everyone.

Usefulness: lowest possible usefulness. This is only slightly better than saying, "Pick an EPL club!" and then listing all the EPL clubs.

Which EPL team is this guide to picking an EPL team most like? Manchester United: the power is in the brand, not the content.

"Americans: Which Premier League Team Should You Root For?" Jon Langford, BBC America (2014)

Not you, too, BBC! You're supposed to be above the maddening crowd, maintaining an air of quiet dignity while the rest of us claw at the scraps left behind.

Pandering to Americans quotient: extremely high. See the headline.

Usefulness: extremely high. If I were actually choosing an EPL team, I'd use this guide. Unfortunately, nobody actually chooses favorite sports teams this way.

Which EPL team is this guide to picking an EPL team most like? Arsenal: very good on paper, but not in any way that matters in real life.

"Guide to the English Premier League," Aaron Gordon, Sports on Earth (2013)

Wait, that's...oh, REAL FUNNY, GUYS. REAL GOOD.

Pandering to Americans quotient: high. Explicitly written for Americans, by an American who holds several questionable soccer opinions, such as Brek Shea being a reason to tune in to Stoke City matches.

Usefulness: low. No quiz, rhyming scheme, hypothetical, or other device to assist your team-choosing needs.

Which EPL team is this guide to picking an EPL team most like? Newcastle: it sucks.