- Man City was handed a two-year ban from the Champions League by UEFA for serious breaches of the Financial Fair Play rule
- Pep Guardiola’s side was also given a 30 million euros fine
- The Premier League could also potentially punish City by deducting points
It’s been quite a horrific week for the current Premier League title holders. Manchester City, who are looking for European glory in the next few months, has been slapped with a two-year ban from the Champions League as they prepare to face Real Madrid in the coming weeks in the round of 16.
The Financial Fair Play regulation, which was introduced in 2011, basically prevents clubs from spending too much money. Teams must control their spending by balancing all valid factors such as signing players, wages, ticket sales, and more. UEFA brought this rule into play in order to prevent bigger European clubs from forking out too much coin, which would make UEFA competitions a lot more lopsided.
This really mixes things up in the top four of the Premier League though, with Sheffield United currently vying for a European spot thanks to this ban to Pep Guardiola’s squad. The Blades have surprised everyone this term in their first season in the top flight since the 2006/07 campaign. They’re currently in fifth spot, just two points behind Chelsea, who sit in fourth. Tottenham and Everton now have the opportunity to also fight for a spot in next year’s Champions League.
Premier League Top 4 Odds
|Team||Odds to Finish Top Four|
City Handed a Massive Blow
With Liverpool running away with the league, City’s only chance at a trophy this season would be the Champions League. But if they can’t capture their first-ever European title, they’ll have to wait two years to once again compete in the competition due to this ban.
The tweet below explains more about Man City’s ban, which they are appealing:
Full details of Man City being banned from Champions League for TWO SEASONS for "serious breaches" of UEFA financial rules pic.twitter.com/sYVG5orSRt
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 14, 2020
This whole scenario also puts Pep Guardiola’s future in jeopardy at the Etihad. He’s been one of the most successful managers ever and it’s hard to believe he will stick around with Man City through a UCL ban of two years when he’s won Europe’s most prized trophy twice in his career already, both with Barcelona. Taking into account their lackluster season where they’re currently a whopping 22 points behind Liverpool, it could be time for the two parties to go their separate ways.
Does Sheffield Have What it Takes?
It’s an absolute dogfight right now for the fourth spot in England, with just four points separating fifth place Sheffield and ninth place Man United. Although there is still lots of time left in the season, the Blades are making a serious case for a spot in the Champions League next year.
1️⃣ Liverpool – 73
2️⃣ M̶a̶n̶ ̶C̶i̶t̶y̶ ̶-̶ ̶5̶1̶
3️⃣ Leicester – 49
4️⃣ Chelsea – 41
5️⃣ Sheffield Utd – 39
Every Sheffield United fan when they realise they’ve now got a Champions League spot ? pic.twitter.com/XNVTfVwmBb
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 14, 2020
With the ban to City, each club would move up one spot, so as of right now, Sheffield would qualify for Europe next season. Nestled in between Chris Wilder’s side and the Red Devils are Tottenham, Wolverhampton, and Everton. They all realistically have a shot at the fourth spot since minimal points separate all of them.
Tottenham is currently in fine form, going undefeated in their last five outings. Everton meanwhile, has dramatically improved under new gaffer Carlo Ancelotti. The Toffees are an impressive 3-2-0 in their last five appearances.
Spurs are always a threat in Champions League, making a miraculous run to the final last year, eventually losing to Liverpool. They’re preparing for a round of 16 clash with German powerhouse RB Leipzig later this month as they look to make another run in the UCL. They certainly have the right man guiding them in Jose Mourinho, who knows exactly what it takes to succeed in every competition across Europe.
? UCL nights back at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
— Tottenham Hotspur (at ?) (@SpursOfficial) February 12, 2020
Can Everton or Wolves Make a Run?
To think that Champions League Football is a reality for Everton at this point is mind-boggling. They endured a disastrous start to this Premier League campaign, winning just four of their first nine matches. Since Ancelotti took over in late December, the Merseysiders are 5-2-2, working their way up to sixth place. They’re just three points behind Sheffield, so anything is possible right now.
Personally, I don’t think United will even make a run at a top-four finish. They have been in shambles this year and with Marcus Rashford now out for a substantial amount of time, they lack a true finisher. Ed Woodward claims that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be around for their summer spending spree, but if things don’t improve soon, it’s hard to imagine the Norwegian will be in charge much longer.
It’s going to be a very exciting finish for the fourth spot in England’s top-flight all because of this ban to Manchester City. If the Premier League also decides to take points away from them, it will make the fight for a top-four finish even tastier.