FOOTBALL – The reaction to Manchester United’s defeat by FC Midtjylland has been one of shock with the English club being derided as “dismal” in the media and the display described as “unacceptable” by one of United’s own players, Michael Carrick. Five days earlier, United lost by a similar scoreline to Sunderland without the same level of criticism from either outside or within. According to the Euro Club Index, Danish champions FC Midtjylland are actually at about the same level of quality as the Black Cats from England’s North East. Prior to Thursday night’s fixture, Midtjylland were ranked 136th by this pan-European ranking with Sunderland 132nd . The difference in opinion therefore lies in people’s perspective with the quality of smaller clubs like Midtjylland being underestimated by media and fans alike because of their lack of knowledge of the team or the league in which they play. Continue reading
Due to basing the seedings for the Europa League draws on six matches within uneven groupings which were created by the UEFA coefficient systems, the seedings for today’s Europa League draw do not actually separate the best and worst remaining teams into two separate groups. Using a longer term rating system, the Euro Club Index, reveals that the seeded and unseeded groups both contain some of the best teams left in the competition and the absolute best trio left in the competition are all unseeded.
FOOTBALL – As we discussed earlier this week, many of the Champions League teams are almost guaranteed a place in the last 16 of the competition with five having at least 90% chance of progress and eight at least 80%. The Europa League however looks a lot more open given that only Spurs, Sevilla, Fiorentina and Napoli have more than a four in five chance of progress to the last 32.
FOOTBALL – The Euro Club Index (www.euroclubindex.com) rates all teams in top flight football in Europe and today has proved an invaluable guide to assess the 2014/2015 Europa League group stage draw. It points out the Group of Death, the teams facing strongest/weakest opposition and also the teams that were most fortunate/unfortunate in the draw.
FOOTBALL – The 48 clubs in today’s Europa League draw have been divided into four pots based on UEFA coefficients. As explained in yesterday’s article, this can lead to misclassifications and potential groups of death. In this case, a group containing Napoli, Wolfsburg, Everton and Dynamo Moscow is possible with only two going through.
FOOTBALL – We have understood that some 1,000 angry Fiorentina supporters gathered outside the Stadio Artemio Franchi, wanting to voice their dissatisfaction over their home side’s 5-0 whitewash at the hands of Juventus on Saturday. It was the biggest Serie A home defeat by the Florence-based side in the 83-year history of the competition.