Monday’s soccer news starts with Jesse Marsch’s Leeds United maintaining its Premier League status at the expense of Burnley. A Leeds win and a Burnley loss had them changing places on the final day of the season, meaning Leeds stays up and Burnley joins 19th-place Watford and 20th-place Norwich City in the 2022-23 Championship.
While any club dropping to the second tier takes with it a decisive economic advantage, that doesn’t always mean a quick return to the Premier League. Fulham has gone up and down each of the last four seasons, once again winning promotion to the Premier League. Norwich City has also changed divisions four times in four years but started in the Championship. It’s a trend that speaks to instability and missed opportunities to solidify a place in the topflight.
Finishing 9th in 2020-21, Leeds United had that most obvious of a reason for expecting more this time around. Instead, they ended up in a situation where the results just weren’t happening. A managerial change to bring in Jesse Marsch eventually led to an undefeated run that ran into the same problem they faced in December. That was three-in-a-row losses to the combination of Chelsea, Manchester City, and Arsenal, playing the same three teams from April 30 to May 11. With no points from nine games, other relegation-threatened teams took advantage of an opening. That included Everton, moving up the table after briefly being the team in 18th-place.
Now, Leeds builds for something that will pass for Premier League stability while the three relegated clubs look to the Fulham model for a quick return. Again, that’s never a given even with parachute payments and players opting to stay with a club now a league down. West Brom and Sheffield United were the other relegated clubs in 2020-21. West Brom finished 10th in the Championship and Sheffield United exited the promotion playoffs to Nottingham Forest. Relegated in 18th-place two seasons ago, Bournemouth finished 2nd in the Championship to make it back to the Premier League. Either Huddersfield Town or Nottingham Forest will join them from Sunday’s playoff final.
Meanwhile, Burnley becomes the latest Premier League regular to try to remember what life was like in the Championship. Promoted after winning the second division in 2015-16, they qualified for Europe two seasons later with a 7th-place finish. Finishing 10th just two seasons ago, last season’s 17th-place wasn’t straightforward with 11 points separating them from the relegation zone.
“We are disappointed and devastated for the club,” Burnley caretaker manager Mike Jackson said following the loss to Newcastle on the final day of the season. “(The supporters) were with us right until the end with us and they were brilliant. I’m sure that they have seen us fighting and they are really disappointed like us. We tried our best for them but in the end, we came up a little bit short. The fans have been great on this little journey that we have had, and the players appreciate that massively. I’m sure the club will use this to try and come back a lot stronger.”
Also in the soccer news, FIFA confirmed that the announcement for the 2026 World Cup host cities will happen on June 16. “In line with the previous stages of the FIFA World Cup 2026 selection process, any announcement will be made in the best interests of football, taking into consideration the needs of all stakeholders involved, as we aim to lay the foundations for the tournament to be delivered successfully across all three countries,” FIFA vice-president and Concacaf president Victor Montagliani said in a press statement. “We can only reiterate our appreciation to all the cities and the three member associations for their efforts and dedication to this process.”
Soccer America’s Mike Woitalla with Marsch’s Leeds escaping relegation. The Yorkshire Evening Post’s Graham Smyth reports on the rumors linking USMNT and Red Bull Salzburg player Brenden Aaronson with Leeds United. iNews’ Daniel Storey has his picks for the top performances from this Premier League season. The Independent’s Miguel Delaney asks some fundamental questions about the Premier League. MLSsoccer’s Matthew Doyle reviews week 13 in Major League Soccer.
TUESDAY’S SOCCER TV
Copa Libertadores on beIN Sport: Velez Sarsfield vs Estudiantes at 6:15pm and Flamengo vs Sporting Cristal at 8:30pm. beIN en Espanol has Nacional vs RB Bragantino at 6:15pm and Emelec vs Independiente Petrolero at 8:30pm ET.
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