Can the big boys balance European football with domestic duties?

All of the England’s top clubs are returning to Premier League action this weekend after getting their European campaigns underway in midweek. But after a couple of upsets on Europe’s highest stage, it still begs the age old question – can English clubs do well in Europe and perform in the league as well?

European nights are something that for every football fan relishes, and for many playing in Europe isn’t just a statement of intent, but a sign of progress that comes with serious financial advantages. For a mid-table team of the likes of Burnley last season, to the “Big Six” vying for the top four Champions League spots, playing in Europe has become more important than ever for Premier League clubs looking to make their mark.

But it really is a double edged sword, as Burnley have already found out to the detriment of their league form this season. Their qualification to the Europa League sparked huge joy amongst their fans after finishing an impressive seventh last season. Ultimately they went on to crash out in the qualifying stages to Olympiakos and now sit firmly at the bottom of the league table.

Chelsea and Arsenal fans certainly won’t relish their clubs’ participation in the Europa League for a number of reasons. The Londoners have gotten used to Champions League football over the years, and the curse of Thursday-Sunday football is often widely cited as affecting league form.

Is the Thursday-Sunday affect really a myth? Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri doesn’t seem to think so. After his side’s 0-1 win over Greek side PAOK, he stated “for an English team the Europa League is a very difficult competition” specifically highlighting the fact that he has no breathing room when it comes to altering kick off times as he would in Italy.

Sarri is right to be skeptical of advancing deep into the competition. Manchester United finished as low as sixth after deciding to put all their eggs in the Europa League basket back in 2016-17 season.

Both Manchester City and Tottenham had a rude awakening to their Champions League campaigns. City unthinkably lost at home to Lyon, and Spurs squandered a 1-0 lead in the last 10 minutes at the San Siro, only to lose 2-1 on the night.

On the other hand, with perhaps the most difficult opening fixture at home to PSG, Liverpool sealed an impressive 3-2 victory at Anfield. That’ll have the Parisians’ Arab owners scratching their heads after spending big on marquee forwards Neymar and Mbappé.

It does goes to show that for all its prestige, its financial clout, and the ability to attract the world’s premier talent, success in the Champions League is no foregone conclusion. That’s something Mourinho’s Manchester United found out all too quickly when they were dumped out of the competition at home to Sevilla in the round of 16 last season.

Though it could be argued that not fighting on the European front could have done United some good. They went on to finish a comfortable second, albeit in the distinctive shadow of noisy neighbours Manchester City.

In contrast, Liverpool went on to beat City in the Champions League and impressively made it to the final where they were eventually done over by European titans Real Madrid. At the business end of the season though that European run did cost them points on the domestic front with form dipping. They only managed to seal fourth place and qualification at the last gasp.

Competition in the Premier League is perhaps the fiercest in domestic football. The balancing act of European football has already taken its toll on a couple of Premier League teams even in the first round of matches. It’s certainly going to make it interesting for punters placing bets this season. You’ll need all the help you can get with expert football betting tips.

Whether it’s European nights in mid-week or Premier League action at the weekend, it’s always good to compare betting sites and search the market’s new betting sites to get the best value. It remains to be seen how English clubs will fare in Europe this season, and whether those that go further can perform in the Premier League.

Written by: Adam Grimshaw