Given the hectic schedule of top flight English clubs every season, it’s understandable when they come forward with it as an excuse as to why they fail on the continental stage. In both of the European club competitions, no English team has won it in the past 3 seasons. EPL, F.A Cup and Carling Cup engagements keep these teams busy all season long, and squeezing time to travel for a Champions or Europa League match makes it more tiring. Many believed the lack of that boosted Leicester City’s chances of stealing the title last term, right under the nose of the big boys. The former Championship side had no European outing, and were out of the domestic cup games early enough, giving them the chance and opportunity to concentrate solely on the league. For the new season, they will be in the shoes of the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool last season, while the 2 sides won’t have any continental responsibilities after their 10th and 8th place finishes. Will that be an advantage to their title pursuit?
The former Champions, Chelsea have recruited the services of Italian handler, Antonio Conte and although he hasn’t clearly been saddled with the responsibility of landing the EPL immediately, but it’s definitely something the former Juve coach wants to do. New signings, new playing pattern, new inspiration, everything points to a title-winning ambition for the Blues after their title defence ended in a disgraceful and embarrassing fashion last season. Having fell apart before Christmas, a change in coach wasn’t enough to see them finish well on the log, and that will definitely change with Conte, but will he be able to challenge for the title given the way things turned out for them last term? Despite the lack of European outing, it is believed he would still be able to attract some top players to his side in order to help carry out his plans on the field of play. And all arms will be folded to see how he will beat fellow master tacticians to the title race come next year’s May.
Liverpool already showed glimpses of what to expect from them under Klopp after they made 2 finals last term. They might have failed to win any, but given the little time the German handler had to pull off such feats, it’s no doubt commendable. An 8th place finish was definitely out of what he hoped for but the new season presents new opportunities and chances. He has made necessary additions/subtractions, and the squad is beginning to take shape ahead of the new campaign which is devoid of European distractions. Having enough time to drill his squad proper prior to the start of a new season, many is expected from the former Dortmund handler who has just recently extended his contract at Anfield, and that includes mounting a strong title challenge next term. He has to beat Mourinho, Conte, Pep, Wenger, Rainieri and co to it, and just like his Chelsea’s counterpart, there wouldn’t be an excuse not to be able to given his side’s exclusion from Europe. It’s a blessing in disguise for both clubs, or maybe not.