Jamie Carragher feels supporters may be put off from watching the Premier League because of the gulf in quality between the top six and the rest.
The Sky Sports pundit was commenting after seeing Newcastle’s approach to facing leaders Man City, with Rafael Benitez’s side happy to sit very deep, despite playing at home. The Magpies negative approach did not impress Gary Neville or Shay Given, but Carragher feels it is a wider problem throughout the league.
“Not just Newcastle but the Premier League in general, when they come up against the top six, certainly at home, it’s becoming embarrassing,” the former Liverpool defender said.
“The Premier League now is becoming a bit of a joke league, with the top teams being so far ahead of the ones at the bottom. For those clubs, its almost like they are accepting they are going to lose the game, as long as it is only one or two-nil.
“The Premier League has been built on every team having a go, that’s why everyone around the world wants to watch it. Will they keep watching if they keep seeing football like that?”
Carragher accepts that opponents of the top six will inevitably have to defend, but the pundit says a balance has to be found.
He continued: “I have no problem with them sitting deep, I played under Rafa Benitez, and it’s not just Newcastle, I’ve seen it virtually every week. There has got to be some sort of aggression, some sort of plan for winning the ball back and then going forward.
“It’s seeing it at home. When every team came to Anfield they played like that, but at home, it’s a sad state of affairs for the Premier League.”
Carragher reflected after the game on the fact that Newcastle remained in the game until the final whistle, though he says that was because City wasted their chances, rather than anything to do with the quality of the Magpies’ defending.
He said: “I was scathing more of the Premier League in general rather than Newcastle, and there is no problem with sitting deep, of course you are going to do that against City – but once they go into Newcastle’s half, where is the aggression? City had ten yards of space when they were 30 yards from goal.
“It’s difficult to counter attack against City because they are so good on the ball, and when you win it they are good at getting it back off you. It was more the aggression, letting City take two or three touches. This is at Newcastle, an intimidating place with an atmosphere. It was too easy.
“The main aim of every manager against Man City now is to try and stay in the game as long as possible. Newcastle are in the game, 1-0 down with 10 to go, almost scored, 1-1 would have been a great result.
“It’s just sad really for the Premier League if people think it is about keeping the score down. It wasn’t great defending from Newcastle that meant they were still in the game, it was because Aguero forgot his shooting boots. It should have been three or four-nil.”