With Manchester United, Manchester City And Arsenal Involved In Europe, Does It Really Help The Likes Of Chelsea And Liverpool To Have Their Midweeks Virtually Game Free?

Posted: October 2, 2016 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
Tags: , , , ,

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This is an argument that has been around for the last few years. Chelsea and Liverpool should have a better chance of challenging for the Premier League title because they are not involved in any form of European competition.

When Liverpool ruled Europe during the 1970’s and early 1980’s, not playing in Europe didn’t seem to be much of an advantage to the other clubs then, and there were more of them as European competition didn’t admit nearly as many teams as it does now!

There were also more games in a season in the top flight. With 22 teams involved, the domestic season consisted of 42 games. The FA Cup was more attractive then than it is now but the League Cup probably wasn’t. In those days of smaller squads, using lesser tournaments to give the younger players some match practice was more than 20 years away from fruition so the strongest team was played in every game.

If anything, the “tiredness” excuse would have been much more realistic 25 to 30 years ago with the prevalence of heavy pitches, heavy balls and heavy boots, yet it was an explanation for failure that was never heard.

In the 1990’s and 2000’s Manchester United didn’t seem to suffer too much from being involved in the Champion’s League every year. In fact, it appeared to work the other way round because, where Liverpool managed to win the European Cup four times during their heyday, United managed it only twice and there was a gap of nine years between their two successes!

Arsenal have appeared in the Champion’s League for the last 20 years running, but have never won it and, in fact, have only reached the final once and Chelsea, for all their money and trophies, have only won it once, and that in a year where they were very fortunate with penalties missed and woodwork regularly getting in the way of the opposition!

The players themselves, to an extent, also disprove this theory about not being involved in Europe increasing the chances of domestic success.

Ask the players which is more preferable to them; training or playing? The answer, from 99% of them will be; playing. So they would rather play two matches per week than one. Forget all the nonsense about tiredness. That is a manager’s excuse for either a loss or a poor performance. If a professional football player is tired after 180 minutes of football in a week then he should take up knitting!

No, playing is far more preferable to training so teams involved in Europe should have an advantage over teams which aren’t. This is proven time and time again.

With the exception of Leicester City last season and Blackburn Rovers in the 1994/95 season the title has been won by one of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea or Arsenal every other season and they have been involved in European competition virtually every year that they have been crowned champions.

This debate about European involvement is a relatively recent one, as is the tiredness issue and both seem to have evolved through overpaid pundits looking for reasons as to why their teams are not achieving. Of course, no time was wasted by the managers, who jumped on this bandwagon as it provided them with a ready made excuse for their failure.

What is more surprising than the argument itself is that it is still used as a “viable reason” for failure when history suggests the exact opposite.

So, to all the pundits and managers out there, stop moaning and get on with it. To constantly complain about being involved in a sport with which a heck of a lot of people would happily give their right arm to be associated is, to be honest, rather pathetic.

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