Tag Archives: Champions League

FA are not allowed to reward FA Cup winners with Champions League spot

Following Jurgen Klopp’s refusal to be in the dug out for Liverpool’s replay against League One Shrewsbury Town, the conversations have taken place about how to “restore some pride in the FA Cup”.

The most commonly heard solution that many fans and journalists propose is to “give the winners of the FA Cup and Champions League place”.

Whilst in theory, it is a good idea, the fact is UEFA regulations do not allow for it.

UEFA have a 108 page document outlining the “Regulations of the UEFA Champions League”. Article 3 outlined “Entries for the Competition”.

3.01 UEFA member associations (hereinafter associations) may enter a certain number of clubs for the competition through their top domestic championship, in accordance with the association coefficient rankings, drawn up in accordance with Annex D. No more than four clubs may qualify for the competition through each domestic championship. These rankings also determine the associations’ positions in the access list ( Annex A), which in turn determines the stage at which each club enters the competition.

3.02 Associations are represented on the following basis:

  1. one representative: winner of the top domestic championship;
  2. two representatives: winner and runner-up of the top domestic championship;
  3. three representatives: winner, runner-up and third-placed club in the top domestic championship;
  4. four representatives: winner, runner-up, third- and fourth-placed clubs in the top domestic championship.

Gone are the days when the national association could pick their own criteria and nominate who they wanted to enter UEFA competition. UEFA now dictate who can and can not qualify.

When it comes to the Champions League, the Entries for Competition is clear – all entries must come from the top domestic championship, in the order sides finished.

Previously, the runners-up of the FA Cup would qualify for the Europa League (or UEFA Cup in old money) if the winners of the competition had already qualified for Europe. This changed in 2015, switching the place to the next best placed in the Premier League.

This denied fans of Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Wolves a place in Europe.

Like with the Champions League spots, this was to a decision made by the FA or Premier League, but one dictated to them by UEFA.

Only 104 pages in the “Regulations of the UEFA Europa League”. Again Article 3 outlines the Entries for the competition.

3.01 UEFA member associations (hereinafter associations) may enter the winner of their national cup competition (hereinafter domestic cup), as well as a certain number of other clubs for the competition through their top domestic championship, in accordance with the association coefficient rankings, drawn up in accordance with Annex D. Only one single team per club may be entered.

3.02 Associations are represented on the following basis:

  1. one representative: winner of the domestic cup;
  2. two representatives: the winner of the domestic cup and the club which finishes the top domestic championship immediately below the club which qualifies for the UEFA Champions League;
  3. three representatives: the winner of the domestic cup and the two clubs which finish the top domestic championship immediately below the club(s) which qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

3.03 In special circumstances, the winner of another official domestic competition may be entered for the UEFA Europa League in place of the lowest ranking top domestic championship representative referred to in Paragraph 3.02(c), provided such a competition has been approved by UEFA before the start of the season in question (see Annex A).

3.04 If the winner of the domestic cup qualifies for the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Europa League via the domestic championship, the highest ranking nonqualified domestic championship club qualifies for the UEFA Europa League at the stage initially reserved for the lowest ranking top domestic championship representative. If the winner of the domestic cup qualifies for UEFA Champions League, the access stage initially reserved for the domestic cup winner is reserved for the club which finishes the domestic championship in the highest position out of all the clubs which qualify for the UEFA Europa League from the association concerned (see Annex A). In both cases each representative of the domestic championship then enters the competition at the stage initially reserved for the domestic championship representative ranked immediately above it.

So the FA and Premier League’s hands are once more tied by UEFA.

If the winner of the domestic cup qualifies for the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Europa League via the domestic championship, the highest ranking nonqualified domestic championship club qualifies for the UEFA Europa League

UEFA have made it clear

Champions League places are rewarded on league position
Domestic cup runners up may not enter the Europa League

Keenos

Arsenal need to learn Champions League lessons

There is a lot that Arsenal can learn from Tuesday nights Champions League games ahead of tonight’s tie against CSKA Moscow.

The ultimate lesson is do not try and defend the lead.

Barcelona went to Rome with a 4-1 lead from the home league. They were in a similar situation as Arsenal face tonight. A 3 goal lead, but with the opponents having a crucial away goal.

Whilst Barcelona had the majority of the possession, they did little with it. Pass, pass, pass. Sideways, sideways, sideways. 57% of the possession resulting in just 9 shots.

Manchester City did similar with a 4-0 lead over Basel.

They were leading 4-0 from the away leg, but lost the home leg 2-1. Despite having 78% of the possession, and going 1-0 up, they were just not interested in scoring.

Liverpool in the first half against Manchester City on Tuesday was a similar story. They were defending deep, looking to hold on to what they had rather than increase their lead.

It was only in the second half when Liverpool decided to attack that the momentum of the tie changed. What was looking like being an incredible Manchester City come back ended up with Liverpool leaving the Manchester Commonwealth Games Stadium having won both the battle and the war.

Tonight Arsenal need to be aggressive. They need to come out and play their normal game. To attack. To not let CSKA Moscow get back in the game.

As we saw on Tuesday with both Barcelona and Manchester City, the first goal can change the complexion of the tie.

Manchester City scored in the first 3 minutes. This forced Liverpool even deeper. Had City’s second “goal” not been wrongly disallowed, I am sure they would have gone on to win the game.

Roma were similar. They scored in the 6th minute. And when Daniele De Rossi scored the second goal, Barcelona players looked scared.

In 90 minutes, it is the equivalent of being 2-0 up. You’re in control. Should cruise to the end. A few substitutes come on. Starting to relax. Then it is 2-1. It is hard to then get back on the front foot, get the mentality right, and often it ends up 2-2.

This is the same for Arsenal. At 4-1, we should get through, but we need to show the right attitude. We need to get on the front foot and ensure that we are dictating the game and being a threat. Just a single Arsenal goal in Moscow will change the tie, as it takes out the away goals. But to get that goal, Arsenal need to attack.

We saw is against Ostersunds.

A poor attitude led to sloppy defending which led to the Swedish minnows going 2-0 up after 23 minutes. Arsenal started the goal with the wrong attitude, thinking they could just pass their opponents off the pitch, and nearly ended up paying.

Against AC Milan, leading 2-0 from the away leg, Arsenal conceded first at home. Hakan Calhanoglu scoring from 30 yards looked to change the tie. Luckily Arsenal shook themselves down and responded quickly.

If we go 1-0 down tonight, we could be in for a long 90 minutes as the natural response will be to defend deeper.

Arsenal need to learn the lessons from the Champions League and come out attacking.

Be aggressive and we go through.

Keenos

Only The Arsenal matter

Yesterday Liverpool proved that they are the greatest team of all time, with the greatest manager of all time. In Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain they have the most improved player of all time. The hyperbole from the media and fans was almost as cringe as Spurs appealing for a goal to be given to Harry Kane.

Fair play to Liverpool though. They were under dogs against Manchester City and performed well to knock them out – even though they got a huge slice of luck from the referee with a goal disallowed that would have made it 3-2 on aggregate.

Despite running away with the Premier League, Manchester City have now suffered 3 defeats in a row. 4 losses in 6 games, and 3 home losses on the trot.

It is not a massive surprise about Manchester City’s recent stumble.

At Bayern Munich, Pep Guardiola’s side always seemed to struggle in the last quarter of the season

In 2013/14, Munich messed up a chance of an unbeaten season when they drew 1, lost 2 on the spin. In April they were also defeated by Real Madrid in the Champions League. A year later, they lost 3 on the spin in the Bundesliga and were once more knocked out of the Champions league at the semi-final stage.

Whilst in both seasons, the defeats happened after the title was sown up, it still highlights a fall off in performance at the later end of the season.

Pep Guardiola is so intense, his training sessions, the way he deals with players, etc, that it is only natural that they get burn out. We are maybe now seeing the same with Manchester City.

A defeat to Spurs at the weekend could see Man City not securing the league title until May. It will be a case of limping over the line for a team that was considered one of the greatest in history (after the current Liverpool side).

Anyway, I did not watch the Champions League game. I have no real interest.

Instead I watched The Island with Bear Grylls. Great TV viewing if you are not already on it. Hopefully in the next episode, whalers will come along and harpoon the 3 poor people. Workshy, lazy, overweight wastes of oxygen. They are a disgrace to working class folk who grind 10 hours a day to put food on the table.

All I care about is Thursday. The Europa League.

At 4-1, you would think Arsenal are comfortable. But last night Barcelona went to Rome with a 4-1 lead from the home leg. They lost 3-0 and went out on away goals.

This result could be good for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger should make players watch the game on the flight to Moscow, to avoid complacency.

To those going out there, enjoy the game, stay safe.

A final thought of the day…

Up the Arsenal.

Keenos