La Liga best in Europe – say stats
Spanish sides dominant on the continent
The English Premier League was once believed to be the number one domestic division in European football. The cream of the crop. No more, and the stats are there to prove it.
Exciting, of course, it’s hard to believe a Real Betis, or a Crotone or even a Mainz doing what Leicester City did last season. Fans love the unpredictability of England’s flagship football competition. But in terms of success against its neighbours, the Premier League leaves a lot to be desired.
A quick-fire example of how far off the pace English football is at present is shown perfectly by the fact it has one side left in the Champions League, at the quarter-finals stage, and that’s Leicester City. The same Leicester Coral have marked up as 33/1 outsiders to go and win it.
La Liga controlling the Champions League
Spain is leading the way on that front, with Real and Atletico Madrid still in with a chance at the odds to lift this year’s trophy. Let’s look at the breakdown of nationality between the eight remaining sides. The score is Spain 3 – Germany 2 – Italy 1 – England 1 – France 1. Let’s take a quick glance over the list of recent winners for more evidence.
A Spanish club has won each of the last three renewals of UEFA’s top prize, with two of those finals being an all-Spanish affair. Scanning over the last decade worth of results, we’ve had five Spanish winners, two Italian, two English and a German. Overall, Real Madrid are, by far, the competition’s most successful side, on 11 wins. We then have Italian giants Milan on seven, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Liverpool all tied on five. England are third in the performance by nation rankings, behind Spain and Italy.
Europa League deserves respect
Many English sides see the Europa League as nothing more than a distraction, especially the group phase, and often field weakened sides early in proceedings, meaning they’ve given up almost before they start.
Can English football continue to turn their noses up at the second-string competition? It quickly dawned on Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho this season that it’s not beneath his side and is, in fact, one of their best chances of getting into next season’s Champions League. With the domestic top-four packed tight, lifting the Europa League trophy will see five English reps in the Champions League next season. That can only be a good thing for the FA.
Europa League winners by country – it’s little surprise to see Spain lead the way, before Italy and England. Each of the last three winners have come from La Liga, and four of the last five. Keeping that trend in mind, Celta Vigo are 11/2 with Coral to win the Europa League, while Barcelona are 11/4 to win the Champions League, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid both locked on 5/1.