Of The Top Six Only Manchester United And Manchester City Have The Perceived Disadvantage Of Remaining In Europe

Posted: February 23, 2017 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Liverpool, Managers, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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Barring a miracle at The Emirates, Arsenal are out of the Champion’s League. Surprise, surprise! Beaten again by Bayern Münich, although the opponent in the round of Arsenal is largely irrelevant, whoever they played would have won the tie. It’s surely time for Arsene Wenger to seek a different challenge.

Tottenham Hotspur, who weren’t good enough for the Champion’s League and so thought they would quite like a crack at the Europa League, proved that they couldn’t hack it at that level either, beaten by Gent, one of those Belgian teams with no good Belgian players because they are all playing in England for teams such as Tottenham Hotspur.

Chelsea and Liverpool weren’t good enough for any form of European competition and so both have taken the season off to ponder on the error of their ways and try to put things right in time for next season.

What this all means to the competition at the top end of the Premier League is that only Manchester City and Manchester United have to concern themselves with passport renewals and flight times for a few weeks yet.

At the time of writing, Manchester City still have to play their second leg tie against Monaco but are in a reasonably strong position. They have a two goal advantage which, if you weren’t aware of the final score at The Etihad, would sound fairly substantial. The fact that they can concede three goals at home though, makes their own fans fearful of how many they can concede away from home especially as Monaco actually have to attack!

United, in contrast, are safely through to the next round of the Europa League, with a professional performance over the two legs against St. Etienne.

City will, hopefully, continue to play on Tuesday/Wednesday and Saturday/Sunday, while United play Thursday/Sunday. By the way, what is all the fuss about these Thursday games? Thursday to Sunday is a break of two full days. Wednesday to Saturday is a break of two full days, what’s the difference?

So is it really a big disadvantage having to play two games per week? According to José Mourinho, yes it is, especially when you factor in the EFL Cup and the FA Cup, competitions which can also, potentially, demand your presence on days other than those of the weekend.

At the very top of the football chain this is the price of success. We have little time for the manager’s persistent complaints about the amount of games their team has to play, when the very next sentence is about how much they want to win every competition they enter.

Playing more games can be seen as an advantage. Think back to early season competitions and friendlies. Then the complaints are that “the other team is ahead of us because they have played more games“. Once the complainant has overtaken that other team in games played, the gripe becomes one of, “the players are tired, they have to play too many games“.

It is difficult to know exactly what is the truth. Managers are usually only retired players and so, consequently, will use any excuse possible to explain a bad spell, or an unexpected loss. The “in” excuse at present is the one of “too many games“. Both José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have used it and yet, at the end of this season, both could finish with a trophy or even two. How does that then justify their complaint?

In fact, it disproves it to an extent. The more games played the more chance of winning a trophy, certainly in the knockout competitions.

Chelsea will probably win the Premier League and a lot of experts are putting their success down to the fact that they have no European games to distract them. We are inclined to disagree. Just ask the players if they would rather be playing in Europe or not. If they can be so good without European football, then why are they trying so hard to get it back for next season?

Liverpool will probably miss out on the top four yet they have had no European distractions, so what is their excuse?

Arsenal finish in the top four every year, but rarely win anything these days. What is the secret of their consistent “success“? They always qualify for the Champion’s League, yet never look like going anywhere near winning it. Is it because qualification means too many games?

There is no simple answer. Teams have won doubles, and one even a famous treble, which have extended their season, added to their games played column and “exhausted” their players. They have then tried to do it all again the following season.

So we suggest that they just get on with it. Stop looking for reasons to lose, to play badly or to excuse downright inept performances from individual players and speak the truth. Tell it like it is. “We were awful because we didn’t do the right things, we didn’t defend well enough and, consequently, they scored more goals than we did“.

That would be a fair comment and would be accepted by the fans, (not on a regular basis), as it is believable and isn’t asking the poor hard-up supporters to feel sorry for the overpaid prima donnas who can’t run around for ninety minutes, occasionally twice per week.

Truth in football! Who would believe it? Even so, the “too many games” debate will probably never be settled satisfactorily.

  1. RedMe says:

    Liverpool and Chelsea have certainly had it easier by not being in Europe or the EFL Cup.


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