The cost of glory: How European participation affects domestic performance
With the season almost over, new teams have emerged from the shadows as potential contenders for next season and some of the old guard have fallen off their pedestals and into the abyss of disappointment.
The new season brings with it more hope and a lot of drama, but most importantly - it will bring new overseas obligation into the midst. Teams that were curtailed to domestic competitions last season will finally have the opportunity to go abroad and show their mettle.
Europe isn't always a dream come true, and in most cases, turns out to be a nightmare for teams not used to its brutal logistics. They focus too much on Europe, and lose track of their domestic pursuits - sometimes failing in both.
What about this season? How did the teams in the Top-4 leagues who had European participation this year, but were not burdened with it the previous year, perform domestically? Let us find out:
In the PL, 3 new teams went to Europe this year as compared to the previous year - Champions Chelsea, Liverpool and their local rivals, Everton.
Chelsea had the biggest drop in performance - a 23 point deficit (70 points in 2017/18 as opposed to 93 points in 2016/2017). The blues also managed to fall 4 places, going from 1st to 5th - thereby will be playing in the Europa League next season instead of the Champions League.
Chelsea also didn't have the most productive of European campaigns, losing out to Barcelona in the RO16 with a 4-1 aggregate. The loss of key players, tension between the board and the manger, inability of new signings to adapt to Conte's play-style all combined to thwart Chelsea's season.
Liverpool are perhaps the surprise package of the year and will be taking on Real Madrid in the final of the Champions League. European participation has not had a toll on them, as they have once again qualified for the CL next season.
Though they have one fewer point than they did in the previous season (76 points in 2016/17 as against 75 points in 2017/18), they still held on to the 4th position in both seasons. The Reds still have a shot at a trophy, and assuming they win - it will be a very successful season as they have juggled both domestic and success overseas.
Everton, like Chelsea, have endured a sticky season in terms of both the PL and the Europa League. Everton finished 8th in the league, one step below where they finished last season and dropped an incredible 12 points (61 points in 2016/17 as against 49 points in 2017/18).
Europa League was also not kind to the Toffees, as they didn't even manage to break out of the group stage. Their huge spending spree in the summer didn't bear enough fruit, and their acquisitions failed to set the world on fire.