In the latest Hangover podcast, I mentioned a new UEFA competition that would come into force from 2021. This will increase the number of teams competing on European competition from September to December from 80 to 96. Having consulted with many different experts on the matter, I have been informed that this will mean another 16 teams. Now, the early discussions between fans suggest that the likely scenario is a return of a Cup Winners Cup, something I would be all for. However, there are suggestions from those who are close to the decision makers that this will be another 32 team competition, and that the Europa League will be reduced from 48 to 32. So you then have 3 different tiers of UEFA competition that run by the same format. So would people be happy to see a third tier of European competition, Leicester City v Espanyol for example, and does this hold off a potential breakaway super league by the biggest clubs on the continent? There is plenty of time to work out what the plan is, my only hope out of all this is that we don't see lesser teams from bigger nations benefit before bigger teams from lesser nations do.
Scot van den Akker discusses Benelux in both an International and Domestic context:
The Nations League is proving to be what many suspected - including the European Hangover's Overlord J Forrest (no, not that one) - for Luxembourg: a great chance to cement recent improvements and aim for the play offs. They have played twice and won both games easily - 4-0 at home to Moldova and 3-0 away in San Marino. It would be a surprise if they failed to top their section now. Things should be simpler for Belgium who should qualify through the regular qualifying route but who still took the time to thrash Iceland 3-0 away. Holland....well who knows? A nation who SHOULD progress easily from their qualifying group but that's no longer a given and we won';t know who they face until December's draw. Might they need the Nations League? They have nothing but tough fixtures and they started with world champions France away - and a 2-1 defeat was no disgrace. However with Germany in group they might not find this route as simple as some.
Domestically the two big fixtures are AZ v Feyenoord where 4th placed home team entertain 3rd placed visitors; and in Belgium Genk in 2nd host 3rd place Anderlecht. Early days and all to play for.
Best wishes from your very own Dutch Destroyer,
Finally, as I mentioned on Flying Solo, we will be doing shows covering as many Champions League games as possible. I would like to urge that feedback on these will be vital as I need to know how many shows are worth doing regarding this. We'll also be getting very excited for Thursday, our chance to get some revenge on Villarreal, who I should stress have a depleted midfield which is nothing but a positive in my eyes!
Thanks for reading,
James Forrest (@No_Not_That_1)