English Premier League is in danger due top poor performance in Europe for past 5 seasons. Italy can overtake England in UEFA coefficient rankings which will see England lose their fourth spot in UEFA Champions League.

Performances from English clubs has been poor in the last few years and this year also, the opening day performance was not good. Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City all failed to win their first group stage games in the Champions League. West Ham and Southampton also added to the woes to England by failing to qualify for the Europa League group stage.

In the last decade, English teams were the biggest force in European competitions but in the last four seasons, they have nothing but failure to show.

In the last three seasons, England has had only two representatives in the Champions League quarter-finals and only one semi-finalist. All of those came in the 2013/14 season, with no team progressing beyond the last 16 in the other two most recent campaigns.

Between 2004 to 2012, England represented finalist in seven out of eight occasions to show their superiority but that has changed a lot in the last three years. None of England’s participants in Europe made it as far as the quarter-finals last season and this failure could have significant consequences. Coupled with Juventus’ run to the Champions League final and Napoli and Fiorentina’s Europa League runs, Italy gained a huge amount of ground on England in Uefa’s ranking system that allocates qualifying positions.

Currently, Italy’s top 2 gets direct qualification for UEFA Champion League and England gets three directly with another playing qualifier. But if Italy overtakes England, then we will see it reverted.

Current UEFA rankings and coefficients are (top four only):

1) Spain- 4.357

2) Germany- 3.857

3) England- 3.250

4) Italy- 2.166

Member associations are given points for wins and draws recorded in European competition, as well as for making it to the Champions League group stages and through subsequent rounds. Points are counted over a five-season period, giving a total – which is divided by the number of participating teams – by which countries are ranked for two seasons later. That is, performance in the seasons 2011/12 through 2015/16 will affect qualification for 2017/18.

At the start of this season, Italy was only 3.095 points behind England, having outperformed them 19 points to 13.57 in 2014/15. Therefore, a repeat of last season – or even less an extreme failure on the Premier League clubs’ part – would see the Italians usurp England into the third place.

It is important to note here that Italy have not caught England up solely because Juventus were last season’s Champions League runners-up or because English teams all failed in Europe’s primary competition. The likes of Tottenham, Liverpool and, indeed, Hull opting against taking the Europa League seriously has also had noteworthy consequences. This season, too, Southampton and West Ham will not have added many points, but provide another two teams to divide England’s points total by, making holding off Italy even less likely.

Given how Premier League sides have started off their European campaigns, it would not at all surprising to see England lose their fourth place in the Champions League.

    Snehanjan Banerjee closely follows English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A along with other world football events.

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