We start the soccer news with La Liga's dominance in the Europa League. Since revamping the UEFA Cup and merging in the Cup Winners' Cup for the 2009-10 Europa League, Spanish clubs have won it five out of eight times. The only time over that period that a La Liga team lost a Europa League final was when both finalists came from Spain. Sevilla accounts for three of those titles with their three-peat from 2013-14 through 2015-16. Atletico Madrid has the chance to match those three trophies when they play Marseille in the 2017-18 Europa League final on Wednesday (2:30pm - FS1).
It's an impressive run from the La Liga teams with one unavoidable caveat. Their Europa League success is overshadowed by their Champions League success. Over that same period, La Liga clubs have won five out of eight trophies with Real Madrid playing for a Champions League three-peat later this month. Atletico Madrid was the losing finalist against city rivals Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016.
That run of form in Europe shows up in the UEFA coefficient rankings. Spain has been top of the table since 2013-14. They currently trail the Premier League going into the Europa League and Champions League finals, but La Liga has two chances at a trophy to the Premier League's one. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are 1st and 2nd in the club coefficient, with La Liga teams taking three out of the four top spots in the ten-year coefficient.
What we're seeing right now is dominance by one league in a new era of tracking and analysis. It's La Liga setting a standard that leaves the rest of the European leagues struggling to compete.
Moving on, in the Championship playoffs, Tim Ream's Fulham shutout Derby County 2-0 at Craven Cottage to win the semifinal series 2-1 on aggregate. Ryan Sessegnon opened the scoring in the 47th minute with Denis Odoi doubling the lead in the 66th. Marcus Bettinelli made one save to keep the clean sheet. Fulham advances to play the winner of the Aston Villa vs Middlesbrough series that concludes later today at Villa Park.
"Today my team played fantastic football," Fulham coach Slavisa Jokanovic said. "We controlled everything, we created many chances, we were really focused and organised, and didn’t give them many opportunities to make dangerous situations. In the second half we pushed stronger, scored two fantastic goals, and I must be really satisfied for the team, our supporters – we need this kind of happiness. These people deserve this night."
The Telegraph's Jim White makes the case for new managers in the Premier League. ESPN's Raphael Honigstein lists what awaits new PSG coach Thomas Tuchel in Paris. Reuters reports that Germany coach Joachim Low has a new contract through the 2022 World Cup. The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson with a tactical review of the Premier League season.
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