Premier League – European Nights Proving too much?

It feels like it’s been a lot longer than 4 years since Chelsea lifted the Europa League, an English sides’ last triumph in any European competition. Whilst Man Utd have a reasonable opportunity to win the same competition this season, not many could have predicted such a sharp decline in the performance of the teams from the richest league in the world under the floodlights across the continent.

Allow me to explain…

Since the 1999-2000 season there have been 64 finalists spread over The Champions League & Europa League, the top representatives by country of origin: –

  • Spain – 23
  • Portugal – 7
  • England – 14
  • Italy – 6
  • Germany – 8

Are we accepting that a little over 20% of finalists being from the “money machine” that is the Barclays Premier league is acceptable?

Of the 14 English clubs who have made it to the various finals, only 4 have prevailed, Sevilla alone have won on 5 occasions and they would not usually be mentioned in the same breath.

It is also worth remembering that even the much maligned Scottish Premiership has provided 2 finalists within the same period (Celtic 2003 & Rangers 2008).

Tottenham-vs-Gent-Image

The afore mentioned Man Utd could break the recent trend this season and lift the Europa League, however loses to Feyenoord and Fenerbache accompanied by drab draws against FC Rostov and Anderlecht would hardly see them as worthy winners.

In fact, this season has seen English Premier League sides (Spurs & Man Utd) face opposition from Belgian First Division A (KAA Gent & Anderlecht) over four legs and only produce a solitary England win…A 2-1 extra time win.

Other such failings in recent seasons have included:-

  • FA Cup winners Wigan prop up their Europa League group
  • Hull City defeated by Lokeren in the qualifying rounds
  • Everton take 5 from Dynamo Kiev
  • Southampton 1-2 Midtylland
  • Liverpool losing out to Basel in 2014-15
  • Man Utd slipping to 3rd in a group of Wolfburg, PSV & CSKA
  • And who can ignore Arsenal’s recent meetings with Bayern…

Football is football and that’s why we love the game and yes the odd surprise defeat can occur, however these are over 2 legs, or in group stages containing multiple games, EPL sides should NOT be crashing out under these circumstances.

Are Stoke better than Schalke, could Bournemouth batter Bordeaux or would we see Everton ease past Espanyol?

I think the honest answer has to be a resounding no to all of the above.

The self-proclaimed “best league in the world” is being outshone by sides from divisions on which they look down on as being not worthy of sharing their pitches.

The EPL and its member clubs need to raise the bar to a whole new level to re-assert itself as a provider of dominant club sides when competing in European competitions or risk falling further behind.

Champions-League-Group-Stage

Tottenham vs Gent image sourced from; www.fourfourtwo.com
Champion’s League group stage image sourced from; www.goal.com

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Chelsea FC – The Runners & Riders to be Roman’s New Man

In this edition we look at the contenders to be the next manager through the seemingly revolving door at Stamford Bridge.

This however is all based on the assumption the Guus Hiddink does not, as expected remain in the post beyond this summer.

There is still a possibility for Hiddink to repeat the success of 2009 and deliver the FA Cup but this will not convince him or the board to extend the current agreement.

Antonio Conte

Currently in charge of the Italian National team and leading his country into Euro 2016

Conte only signed a short 2 year contract with the Azzurri and is free to leave as soon as Italy’s tournament is over.

Guided Juventus back to the top of Serie A and won 3 successive titles, laid the groundwork for current team before his resignation.

Available and no compensation to be paid.

Chances of being appointed  8/10

Antonio-Conte.jpg

Diego Simeone

The hot tempered Argentine would certainly bring personality to England should he choose to leave Atletico. This may all depend on impending transfer embargo’s and how far Spain’s big two strengthen their position in the coming months.

Would he be excited for further touchline battles with Guardiola and Jose? We say he’d thrive on it.

Although he currently doesn’t speak English and very loved where he is.

Chances of being appointed  7/10

Manuael Pellegrini  

The outgoing City manager has handled himself with superb dignity in the few weeks since his current club decided to publicly announce he is being replaced. Certainly a different style and grace than Mourinho.

A chance of 3 trophies still up for grabs before he leaves, but the blue side of Manchester are generally far from convincing.

Won’t be short of offers but is he the man for the Bridge? No way.

Chances of being appointed  3/10

Massimiliano Allegri

The 2nd Italian on the shortlist. Allegri has continued Conte’s fine work and taken Juve to the next level. The Champions League runners up of 2015 have just held Guardiola’s mighty Munich to a draw in the 1st leg of this year’s last 16 tie.

Putting together a team containing Pogba, Khedira, Dybala and Morata is something that the Premier League can only dream of at this moment in time.

2 x Serie A titles and 3 Italian cups with 2 different sides shows he has what it takes.

Ultimately though…Would he leave Turin at this moment in time? We don’t think so.

Chances of being appointed 5/10

Jorge Sampaoli

Currently out of work the former Chile manager is fresh from guiding the host nation to the Copa America. A penalty shootout win over Argentina was Vidal, Sanchez & co’s 1st South American title.

Turmoil with the recently elected President of the Football Federation of Chile led to his surprise resignation.

He does have a similar language barrier to Simeone that he would need to overcome.

He’s also perhaps struggle to command the respect that has seen previous bosses lose their position.

Another who is available and commands no compensation

Chances of being appointed 4/10

Diego-Simeone

All things considered we would love to see Allegri come to Chelsea, He could turn the club back into title contenders and clearly has the ability to attract the top players in Europe.

Massimiliano has quietly gone about his business at the Old Lady whilst overseeing his team play with intensity and style.

We don’t think we will get our wish however and fully expect it to be a straight shootout between Conte and Simeone.

Whoever gets the nod, all the best as you will be the trigger happy Billionaire Russian’s number 12.

Antonio Conte Image Sourced from; www.huffingtonpost.com
Manuael Pellegrini and Diego Simeone Image Sourced from; www.metrofmonline.com