The 2019-20 season will go down in the history books for many reasons, although focusing purely on what has transpired on the pitch, for some clubs, things haven’t quite worked out as well as they might have expected.
We take a look at four teams who pinned their hopes on enjoying positive campaigns, but haven’t come anywhere close to reaching the kind of success they were tipped to achieve.
After reaching their highest Premier League position in decades and the FA Cup final last season, everything looked bright for Watford. The 2019-20 campaign had fans excited again, believing they could build upon that success and just maybe, make a push to jostle amongst the European positions this season.
Currently on their third manager of the season, Watford have spent most of the campaign near the foot of the table but are now fifth favourites to go down in the EPL odds from Betfair after an improvement spearheaded by Nigel Pearson. Given that neither Javi Gracia or Quique Sanchez Flores could save what looks to be a sinking ship, only time will tell if Pearson can save the Hornets from slipping down to the Championship.
Thanks to an exceptional run of form towards the end of the 2018-19 season, RCD Espanyol clinched 7th position and the final Europa League spot available in LaLiga. Thrilled at the prospect of a continental campaign, with reaching the 2006-07 UEFA Cup final still fresh in the minds of some fans, everything looked peachy for Los Periquitos.
3 - Espanyol's Bernardo Espinosa has scored three goals in LaLiga 2019/20, only one less than in his previous 107 games in the competition (4). Inspired. pic.twitter.com/QxsrBZBGV6— OptaJose (@OptaJose) June 13, 2020
However, it all turned sour when manager Rubi departed for Real Betis. He was replaced by B team boss David Gallego, who was completely out of his depth and fired by October. Even the highly respected Pablo Machín couldn’t change their fortunes and he too was gone by December. As the third manager of the season, Abelardo is now tasked with saving rock-bottom Espanyol’s future in La Liga..
After finishing an impressive 2017-18 campaign as runners-up in the Bundesliga, the subsequent 2018-19 season saw FC Schalke 04 slump to 14th position and cost manager Domenico Tadesco his job. David Wagner arrived as head coach with loftier ambitions, yet his team has frustratingly underachieved.
Spending most of the season in mid-table obscurity, any German Bundesliga preview ahead of the 2020-21 season is bound to feature talk of another new head coach. Recent media reports have suggested that former player Raúl González, currently the Real Madrid Castilla manager, has already been offered the post.
On paper, the Fiorentina squad at the start of the 2019-20 season looked to have all the right ingredients for success, combining both youthful and experienced talents. Old but gold, 37-year-old veteran Franck Ribéry arrived from Bayern Munich and was expected to lead a revival. Meanwhile, 22-year-old Federico Chiesa was tipped for a strong campaign, as he follows in the footsteps of his illustrious father, Enrico Chiesa.
Unfortunately, this Fiorentina side just hasn’t managed to find any consistent rhythm or form, which means the results have been far from spectacular. Any European ambitions have now evaporated, while frustrated fans have endured watching their team tread water above the relegation zone for much of the campaign.
Fenerbahce remain amongst the top 50 UEFA club coefficient rankings, although they’re a shadow of the Turkish Super Lig power they once were, struggling to get anywhere near the top four this season. After returning to the Dutch Eredivisie this season, more was expected of 2009-10 champions FC Twente, yet they avoided relegation by just one point.
Finally, the once magnificent Lyon struggled in the French Ligue 1 and the 2019-20 campaign concluded with them down in 7th position. That’s way below their continually ambitious expectations, Les Gones (The Kids) will be without European football for the first time in many years.