Europe's Biggest Underachieving Clubs: Milan, Valencia Lose Penultimate Matches
Welcome back to the most inauspicious list in the business: the biggest underachieving clubs in European football.
The 2013-14 Premier League campaign has already come to an end—mercifully, for Manchester United—while some of Europe’s other top divisions have a week remaining before the curtain falls.
The next few slides will reveal those clubs that have most disappointed this season.
Marseille followed up a heartening 4-2 win at home to Lyon with a disappointing 1-1 draw away to Bordeaux.
And so the season has gone for l’OM, who must get a result against Guingamp Saturday and hope for a Lyon trip-up at Nice in order to qualify for the Europa League.
As it stands, Marseille are sixth in Ligue 1 and set to miss out on European football in 2014-15.
Valencia’s surprising run to the semi-finals of the Europa League served as a smokescreen for what has been a mostly disappointing season at La Mestalla.
A 2-0 derby defeat to Levante on Saturday represented a new low for Los Che, who dropped to 10th in La Liga with the loss.
With only a single match remaining on their schedule Valencia can finish no higher than eighth in the Spanish top flight, and the conclusion of the campaign is likely to signal the exit of manager Juan Antonio Pizzi, who was only appointed on Boxing Day.
4. PSV Eindhoven
PSV Eindhoven expect to be playing Champions League football every season, but in 2014-15 they’ll have to contest the third qualifying round of the Europa League.
One of the biggest clubs in the Netherlands, PSV were unusually streaky in 2013-14, finishing their schedule with back-to-back wins over PEC Zwolle and NAC Breda.
But before the modest winning run, they lost three matches on the bounce, to Groningen, Heerenveen and Feyenoord.
3. Inter Milan
Inter Milan icon Javier Zanetti bid farewell to the San Siro Sunday, and his side sent him off in style by thumping Lazio 4-1.
The victory followed a discouraging 1-0 defeat to local rivals AC Milan, which came after a scoreless draw at home to Napoli.
With a trip to Chievo all that remains on their schedule, Inter are assured of a spot in the Europa League, although they can finish no higher than fifth in Serie A.
2. AC Milan
AC Milan followed up the high of their derby win against Inter Milan with a befuddling defeat to Atalanta.
The loss—their 13th in 37 matches—left the Rossoneri eighth in Serie A and unlikely to be involved in European football next season.
In order to nick the Italian top flight’s final Europa League position, Milan must win at home to Sassuolo and hope for dropped points from both Torino and Parma.
1. Manchester United
In the space of a year, Manchester United went from winning a record-extending 20th English title to finishing outside the Premier League’s European places.
A 1-1 draw away to Southampton marked the end of a disastrous season for the Red Devils.
David Moyes—hired as the retired Sir Alex Ferguson’s managerial successor—was sacked with four matches remaining on the schedule, and while Ryan Giggs took over the side down the stretch, even he couldn’t deliver European football.
United, embarrassingly, finished seventh in the Premier League—five points back of sixth-place Tottenham Hostpur and a whopping 15 back of Arsenal and the Champions League positions.