Can the 2022/23 Premier League season not just start already?
For all the entertainment of the summer transfer window, football fans like ourselves can’t help but start willing the new campaign towards us having now gone the best part of a month without England’s top-flight.
Sadly, though, no amount of crossing fingers nor angry tweets can possibly bring the opening weekend of the Premier League season closer towards us as we all count down the days to August 5.
2022/23 Premier League stadiums
However, in the mean time, we might as well put our excitement to good use and start assessing the 20 clubs that will contest the next year of the world’s most entertaining league.
And we’re not on about deep, thoughtful tactical inferences here, but rather the questions that we all care most about in the English game like: who has the best badge? Who has the finest new kit? Which manager would you most want to spend a night out with?
Hard-hitting journalism, we know, but don’t pretend as though it doesn’t pique your interest, and the latest part of our 2022/23 Premier League preview will revolve around each team’s stadium.
Which club has the best stadium?
Anyone who enjoys a spot of live football will know that the architecture, atmosphere and facilities of a stadium can make the difference between a boring Saturday on the terraces and an away day that you’ll remember forever.
The simple fact of the matter is that some grounds are better than others and we wanted to see how the current 20 Premier League arenas stacked up using our trusty medium of Tiermaker.
Using categories ranging from ‘worst of the bunch’ to ‘the greatest’, we’re assessing each stadium based on the following criteria: arena structure, fan atmosphere, match-day experience – both anecdotally and from personal experience – and its standing within English football.
Ultimately, the decisions come down to the opinion of yours truly, so if you happen to disagree, then power to you and be sure to let us know your personal rankings across our various social channels.
Ranking Premier League stadiums
However, for now, let’s take a walk through how the Premier League stadiums compare in the eyes of your humble GIVEMESPORT writer as we sort the footballing cathedrals from the grounds that need some TLC.
Worst of the bunch
London Stadium and Vitality Stadium
Well, someone’s got to finish last. Look, West Ham fans do their upmost to make the London Stadium a cauldron of atmosphere, but it’s higgledy-piggledy structure will always make us think that it’s better suited to athletics than football.
And although we don’t like to bully the smaller and quainter stadiums of English football, let’s not pretend as though the Vitality – which isn’t winning awards for character anyway – doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb in the Premier League strata with its capacity of just 11,379.
St. Mary’s Stadium
While it might feel as though we’re bullying Southampton here, it’s important to note that three stadiums occupied this tier last season and it just so happens that clubs and opinions have changed since then.
But let’s be honest here, St. Mary’s Stadium is one of the worst offenders in England when it comes to assuming the ‘soulless bowl’ archetype with very little in the way of distinguishing features beyond its red seats. Not for us.
Middle of the road
Emirates Stadium, Amex Stadium, Etihad Stadium, Brentford Community Stadium, Selhurst Park and King Power Stadium
They’re not perfect, but they’re not bad either: these stadiums get a thumbs up from me even if each of them ultimately has a certain element that holds me back from wanting to sit there week in, week out.
As fas as the Emirates and Etihad are concerned, the stereotype rings true with the stunted atmosphere, acoustics and character holding back what are undoubtedly two of the most advanced, comfortable and awe-inspiring stadiums in the country.
The homes of Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford get our approval for representing modern grounds that don’t just look like identical products off the same production line, but nevertheless still fall short of the league’s upper echelons.
The presence of Selhurst Park might raise a few eyebrows because there’s no denying that the ground, much like Turf Moor, needs some serious love, but the nationwide reverence for the noise drummed up by Palace fans is enough to give them a lift up to the middle tier.
By the same token, Leicester City’s King Power Stadium is saved a St. Mary’s-like fate due to its fabulous atmosphere counteracting what is undoubtedly another cookie cutter structure.
Cracking day out
Stamford Bridge, Craven Cottage, Elland Road, City Ground, Molineux and Goodison Park
It’s no coincidence that every stadium in this category is up to its ears in English footballing heritage, but even those accusing us of wearing rose-tinted retro specs must admit that all six of these away days are absolute belters.
From the gorgeous walks along the Thames and Trent to the infinitely characterful Cottage and City Ground to the old-fashioned classiness of a simpler time sizzling through Goodison Park’s rafters, you know you’re set for, well, a cracking day out when you’re visiting these stadiums.
The same goes for Molineux’s balancing act between modern expansion and vintage ambience as well as the eternally-passionate atmosphere served up by all four corners of the cauldron-like Elland Road.
And while the Bridge isn’t without its critics and some TLC would certainly go a long way, we can’t bear the thought of Chelsea waving goodbye to what remains one of the most unique and distinctive stadiums in all of Europe.
St. James’ Park, Old Trafford, Tottenham Hotspur and Villa Park
Don’t sit here and pretend you wouldn’t bite someone’s hand off if they offered you a free ticket to watch a game at one of these venues. Well, unless you’re a Sunderland, Manchester City, Arsenal or Birmingham City fan, that is.
The dominating silhouette of St. James’ Park over the Newcastle skyline with its legendary away end and thoroughly-underrated atmosphere made it the perfect candidate to kick off our favourites.
Then, we have two of the most venerated patches of turf in England in the form of Old Trafford and Villa Park with each and every row, concourse, gate, statue and blade of grass steeped in history to make us happily forget some of their blemishes and wrinkles.
But there are no such imperfections in Tottenham’s new ground, which must surely be considered the most space-age stadium in world football and one that didn’t compromise on atmosphere and character to achieve it. There just happens to be one arena that I like even more…
A timeless footballing cathedral that effortlessly blends the old and the new, adding modern splashes to the vintage traits that has made Anfield such a pilgrimage for football fans over the decades.
Its towering, characterful architecture makes for a Colosseum-like setting that compliments the unrivalled atmosphere drummed up by Liverpool supporters with the Kop’s renditions of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ forever sending a tingle down the spine of anyone who hears it.
Every stadium is special to someone
We hear your anger, we do, but you can’t please everyone with these sorts of rankings that are inevitably and unavoidably grounded in subjective assessment.
And look, the fundamentals of what makes a stadium great is completely personal and we don’t doubt for a second that there are thousands of fans who would place some of our lower-ranked finishers at the very, very top.
Everybody’s own local ground has a special place in their heart just in the way that arenas where you made special memories with loved ones do.
And regardless of any Tiermaker or what my silly little footballing brain might think, that’s the true definition of ‘the greatest’ when it comes to stadiums. Each and every one of them is somebody’s favourite and that really is special.