5 most disappointing football clubs in 2020

There were many disappointing clubs in 2020
There were many disappointing clubs in 2020

Every year begins with objectives and aims for all organizations, and football clubs are no different. Each season comes with its own challenges, with transfers and managerial changes among the major steps taken to achieve the campaign's goals.

The hierarchical nature of football means that different clubs have different aims. While some are content to maintain their top-flight status and avoid relegation, others are well-poised to gatecrash the upper echelons but do not mind mid-table obscurity.

However, there are a select few clubs at the highest levels, for whom anything other than winning trophies at the end of the season classifies as a major disaster.

These sides are mostly traditional teams who are well-versed in the art of winning, with generations of their fans accustomed to celebrating title triumphs almost every spring.

However, the competitive nature of football means that not every team can achieve their objectives. There are always cases where clubs fail to fulfil their potential.

The year 2020 came with its own unique challenges, chief of which was the COVID-19 pandemic that changed the world as we know it.

Football, like every other industry, was badly hit by the pandemic and footballing activities were shut down globally for over three months, while majority of stadiums remain closed to supporters.

Despite the challenges, football thrived to give us some truly remarkable stories, like Liverpool winning a maiden Premier League title as well as Bayern Munich decimating all in their path to win a second continental treble.

However, for all the gains made by some sides, there were several others who imploded spectacularly in the year.

Here, we shall have a rundown of the 5 most disappointing clubs in the year 2020.

#5 Benfica

Benfica were one of the most disappointing clubs this year
Benfica were one of the most disappointing clubs this year

Benfica are the most successful club in the history of Portuguese football and came into the 2019-20 season as defending champions of the Portugal Primeira Liga.

They, however, failed to defend their title, finishing five points behind champions Porto on the points table.

Their third-place finish in the Champions League group stage in 2019 meant that they dropped down to the Europa League. However, Benfica failed at the first hurdle, falling to a 5-4 aggregate defeat to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donestk in the Round of 32.

They failed to make it to the Champions League group stage this season after being eliminated by PAOK. A second-place finish to the Rangers in their Europa League group means they will face Arsenal in the next round.

Further disappointment was recorded in the final of the Taca de Portugal, where Porto defeated them 2-1 before inflicting another 2-0 defeat in the Portuguese Super Cup in December 2020.

#4 Inter Milan

Inter Milan were one of the most disappointing clubs in 2020
Inter Milan were one of the most disappointing clubs in 2020

Inter Milan sent a statement of intent when they appointed Antonio Conte as their manager in the summer of 2019.

The former Chelsea manager had proven his mettle as one of the most astute coaches in the world and was adequately backed in the transfer market, with several new players arriving at San Siro.

His debut campaign with the Nerrazurri, however, did not go according to plan, with a Champions League group stage elimination meaning that they dropped down to the Europa League.

The Serie A side made it all the way to the final in August 2020 but fell to a 2-1 defeat in the final to Europa League specialists, Sevilla.

Their Coppa Italia run came to an end with a penalty shootout loss to Napoli in the semi-final but they finished as runners-up in the league to Juventus.

After threatening to leave the club in the summer, Conte was shown the requisite support but the club's European sojourn once again ended in the group stage. Rather disappointingly, they would not play continental football in the new year, having finished bottom of their group.

Their Champions League elimination in the group stage was inarguably a nadir for the club. It is not far-fetched to suggest that Inter Milan were one of the most disappointing clubs of 2020.

#3 Manchester United

Manchester United were one of the most disappointing clubs of the year
Manchester United were one of the most disappointing clubs of the year

Manchester United were one of the most disappointing clubs in 2020 and struggled with inconsistency throughout the year.

The Red Devils have very much been a Jekyll-and-Hyde club under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and nowhere was this more evident than in 2020.

Positive results were registered against the biggest sides in the league but they were usually followed with disappointing results against lower sides.

In many ways, it was a case of one step forward, two steps backwards for Manchester United. Proof of this lies in the fact that they qualified for three semi-finals in 2020 but failed to progress to any final.

Their Champions League group stage elimination after winning their first two games against Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig proved to be the nadir of the year.

Having said that, there are positive signs for Manchester United to build on heading into 2021.

#2 Manchester City

Manchester City were among the most disappointing clubs in the year
Manchester City were among the most disappointing clubs in the year

Unlike all the other clubs on this list, Manchester City ended 2020 with a trophy in the bag, as they continued their recent dominance of the League Cup with an emphatic victory over Aston Villa in the final.

However, with all due respect to England's third competition, the Cityzens have their sights set much higher but failed to make a mark on the competitions where their ambitions really lie.

Their Premier League title was effectively surrendered to Liverpool by Christmas, while an unfancied Arsenal ended their FA Cup charge in the semi-final stage.

Their most disappointing result, however, came in the quarter-final of the Champions League where a 3-1 defeat to Olympique Lyon meant that the Mancunians have still not made it to the last four on the continent under Pep Guardiola.

This was a far cry from the heights that saw the club become the first team in English football history to win a domestic treble the year before.

The new season has not started too brightly either. City have struggled to get going in the current campaign and currently sit 6th on the Premier League table, with the goal-shy side having scored just 21 goals from 14 league games.

#1 Barcelona

Barcelona had a year to forget
Barcelona had a year to forget

The year 2020 was generally one to forget for Barcelona, and they were undeniably one of the most disappointing clubs of the year.

It started brightly enough for the Catalans but a 3-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the semi-final of the Spanish Super Cup in January proved to be the catalyst for the domino effect that followed.

Erstwhile manager Ernesto Valverde was relieved of his duties and was promptly replaced with Quique Setien. The former Real Betis manager himself lasted less than seven months on the job.

When La Liga joined the rest of the world in shutting down in March 2020, Barcelona had a two-point advantage at the summit of the table and were primed to retain their title.

However, a spectacular capitulation post-lockdown saw them end the season five points behind bitter rivals Real Madrid.

However, the worst was yet to come as a total annihilation awaited them in the Champions League where Bayern Munich trashed them in an 8-2 defeat.

This was followed by the sack of Quique Setien and the appointment of Ronald Koeman. However, the biggest setback Barcelona suffered was when Lionel Messi submitted an official request to leave the club.

The Argentine ace ultimately elected to stay at Camp Nou but Barcelona ended the year trophyless for the first time in 12 years, which was a disappointing end to one of the worst years in the club's illustrious history.

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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