Where Every Europa League Finalist Since 2012 Finished In The League

Where Every Europa League Finalist Since 2012 Finished In The League
May 22, 2017

Europa League Featured Manchester United

Despite Manchester United’s exhilarating transfer window, signing Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Bailly, Manchester United finish the season in 6th place, their lowest finish since David Moyes guided the club to a 7th place finish in 2014.

José Mourinho has blamed United’s lethargic performances on fatigue, with the majority of their Premier League fixtures being played on a Sunday, leaving two days for recovery after the club’s Europa League clashes on Thursdays.

So, we searched whether José’s excuses for United’s poor league form are valid, or if the Manchester United boss is just covering up the cracks.

2016 Europa League Final: Liverpool 1-3 Sevilla 

  • Liverpool (8th)
  • Sevilla (7th)

In last year’s Europa League final, Liverpool travelled to Basel to face Sevilla as both clubs aimed to win a piece of silverware, along with Champions League qualification. Sevilla ran out 3-1 winners after Kevin Gameiro and an Andújar Moreno brace cancelled out Daniel Sturridge’s opener, meaning Sevilla clinched the title for three successive seasons. However, neither of the two teams were even close to competing for a Champions League spot in their retrospective leagues, let alone fighting for the league. Brendan Rodgers was sacked, leading to Jürgen Klopp’s appointment, Liverpool lost the Captial One Cup final against Manchester City on penalties and ended up finishing eighth in the Premier League table.

Sevilla, donning talents such as Fernando Llorente and Kevin Gameiro finished 7th in La Liga. However, they went on to win the Europa League, meaning they qualified for the Champions League this season.

2015 Europa League Final: Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 2-3 Sevilla

  • Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (3rd)
  • Sevilla (5th)

In 2015’s Europa League final, Ukrainian side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk faced Sevilla. Football in Ukraine is not something of my expertise, but Dnipro failed to overcome Sevilla, losing 3-2 after leading just 7 minutes in through Kalinic’s opener. Sevilla, with a helping hand from Krychowiak and a Carlos Bacca brace, used the Europa League as their route to the Champions League once again, only managing a fifth place finish in La Liga. 

2014 Europa League Final: Sevilla 4-3 Benfica On Penalties

  • Sevilla (5th)
  • Benfica (1st)

Benfica are the first team so far to win the title in their country and reach the Europa League final, however, they lost. Sevilla’s first of the three they’d later go on to win came in 2014, edging past Benfica 4-3 on penalties. The match was held in Italy at the Juventus Stadium. Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitić captained the Sevilla side managed by Unai Emery, whilst Jan Oblak, André Gomes and Nicolás Gaitán were under Jorge Jesus’ control at Benfica.

2013 Europa League Final: Benfica 1-2 Chelsea

  1. Chelsea (3rd)
  2. Benfica (2nd)

Chelsea, managed by Rafa Benítez, overcame Benfica in 2013 by two goals to one as Branislav Ivanović headed the blues in front after Oscar Cardozo drew level following Fernando Torres’ opener. Chelsea finished the season in 3rd, which was a very impressive season by Benítez and Benfica failed to win the Primeira Liga, losing out to Porto. Rafa Benítez later left Chelsea at the end of the season, leaving the Blues with a piece of silverware and a place in next season’s Champions League.

2012 Europa League Final:

  • Atletico Madrid (5th)
  • Atletic Bilbao (10th)

In 2012, a rampant Atlético Madrid thrashed Athletic Bilbao 3-0 as Los Rojiblancos’s talents such as prime Radamel Falcao fired the club to the title with a brace in the final. Atleti, managed by Diego Simeone, had the team to compete for four top 4 in La Liga, with Falcao, Godin, Arda Turan, Miranda and Felipe Luis all under the Argentine’s control. However, the club finished 5th, behind Valencia and Málaga.

In the finals since 2012, no winner of the Europa League also scooped their league title, with most barely challenging. The two Premier League clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool, finished third and eighth. However, Chelsea were not in the race for the title, despite their impressive finish.

Of course, you could mention the title winners would be in the Champions League, and the Europa League welcomes sub-standard teams, and therefore it’s highly unlikely that they would win the Europa League and the league title in one season. But, failure to qualify for the Champions League knock-out stages results in that side entering the Europa League, meaning the tournament does hold Champions League quality.

In conclusion, the Europa League seems to have played a big part in Manchester United’s 6th place finish, facing Rostov, Anderlecht, St-Étienne, Zorya, Feyenoord, Fenerbahçe and Celta Vigo leaving little preparation for the clubs Sunday Premier League fixtures. Out of the five finals listed, the average position of those ten teams was fifth, one higher than Manchester United’s campaign in this term. Of course, I could be making huge excuses for endless dismall performances without any quality shown from United’s best when needed, however, reaching the EFL Cup final, FA Cup quater-final and Europa League final, it’s understandable that United haven’t been able to play at their best two days after playing in Europe.


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