Just as quickly as football fans in Europe are getting used to the idea of a summer without the beautiful game, it seems like just as quickly, things are getting started back up again. Of course, we know that the real domestic ‘big time’ leagues aren’t going to be resuming until August, but there are still a few important things to get resolved and get underway with.
One such thing, as reported by Birmingham Mail and Evening Times, is the Europa League. The first, second, third and play-off qualifying rounds are all set to take place before a kick of league football is played, which is enough to tell you just how much these teams are going to be putting themselves through over the course of the next few months. Teams who want to take part in the group stages of the Europa League are going to be stretching themselves pretty thin, and even that may be a bit of an understatement.
Moving on up
The game has developed progressively over the years, to the point where a lot of pundits and fans almost expect the players to be able to handle this kind of a physical schedule. We can somewhat understand the logic behind that, but at the same time, you have to feel for the teams that are going to be giving it everything they’ve got – knowing that they’ve got to get through six games just to be able to say they’ve made it into the competition properly.
One side that fans around the world will be looking forward to seeing at this stage is Wolverhampton Wanderers. Why? It’s simple: they seem to be the most intriguing team involved, and it’s not really even that close. They are considered to be the primary contenders when it comes to a team edging their way into the top six, and they seem to be on a rise that very few could’ve predicted just a few short years ago.
They’ve got the infrastructure to go after in this competition, to the point where some feel like they have what it takes to actually go from the qualifying rounds all the way through to the final.
The sleeping giant
They’re the 10th favourites with the bookmakers to get the job done, which tells you all that you need to know regarding the strength and growing reputation of English football.
In order to win the whole thing they’ll have to go through a gruelling 21 games, and when you consider the fact that they’ve got a minimum of 40 games to play as well as that in the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup, it’s a little bit daunting. Of course, they aren’t the only ones that will have to deal with this, and we’re just as intrigued to see the path that a series of other sides take too.
It may not be seen as an exciting period of time for football (this summer, that is) but things are already starting to heat up, and we’re actually excited to see how some of these ties go in the Europa League.