As the 2020/21 European club football season enters its stretch run over the next two months, several teams have struggled mightily and are facing embarrassing conclusions to a forgettable year.
The Biggest Football Upsets of the 2020/21 Season
Disappointing Clubs This Season
Which clubs have drastically underachieved, producing poor results that are difficult to digest and comprehend?
Here are the top five most disappointing clubs in Europe’s five major leagues (one team from each league) this season, ranked based on their performances.
Participants in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages in 2019/20, Valencia have struggled mightily in La Liga this season, currently sitting in 12th place with 33 points.
One of the most successful Spanish clubs, Los murciélagos (The Bats) are underperforming under former Watford manager Javi Gracia and were even battling relegation earlier in the season.
A 4-1 victory over Real Madrid in November is the only high point in 2020/21 for Valencia, who are nine points clear of safety and 13 points away from a European place. This state of league purgatory is unacceptable for the club and has resulted in them featuring in our list of biggest football upsets.
Two goals in six Champions League matches, then-manager André Villas-Boas threatening a journalist publicly, and a violent attack by supporters on the club’s training ground have characterized a dismal season for the French powerhouse.
Once considered to be in the Ligue 1 title race, Marseille’s form dipped drastically in the winter, winning only four of their last 17 matches.
A minor resurgence under Jorge Sampaoli has brought the club up to sixth place, with two wins from their last three games.
However, trailing Lyon, Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and Lille by double-digit points is cause for concern, and regardless of how the season ends, it is a disappointment.
Even though Jürgen Klopp’s side seem to have rediscovered their league form, last season’s champions will not be satisfied with falling 25 points behind title rivals Manchester City.
Even though Liverpool topped the table in the autumn with fantastic performances against Chelsea, Arsenal, Leicester City, Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur, it was always going to be a tall order to compete with the number of injuries they suffered.
Losing three central defenders in Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and talisman Virgil van Dijk shook Liverpool’s foundation, disrupting the midfield and consequently the front-three, with players forced to play out of position for long periods, especially Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.
Additionally, the fortress of Anfield was breached by the opposition six straight times this season, a first in club history.
Liverpool may finish in the top four, but considering recent seasons, it is not good enough.
Speaking of not good enough, meet Borussia Dortmund. Despite competing as the second wealthiest club in the Bundesliga, Die Schwarzgelben are currently sitting in fifth place, seven points behind Eintracht Frankfurt for the precious final Champions League spot, and a shocking 21 points behind rivals Bayern Munich.
In a year where the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged football finances, missing out on Europe’s elite competition will be a devastating blow for Dortmund.
It may even result in the sale of several of their superstars, such as Jadon Sancho and the highly coveted Erling Haaland, to make up for the financial losses.
After sacking Lucien Favre, interim manager Edin Terzic is struggling to turn the club’s fortunes around. Similar to Liverpool, Dortmund’s home form is concerning, with four defeats at Signal Iduna Park so far, which is the same number from the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons combined.
If a top-four finish is not achieved, this season will go down as a catastrophic failure and could set the club back for years.
La Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady) is the clear choice for the top spot in this ranking. Winners of the last nine Serie A titles, Juventus are in third, a whopping 12 points behind leaders Inter Milan.
Appointing club legend Andrea Pirlo as manager over the summer (with zero management experience) was a massive risk, which has not yet paid off.
Pirlo’s side have struggled mightily throughout the season, with questionable draws against last-placed Crotone, 15th placed Benevento and 17th placed Torino.
They also lost to Benevento and 14th placed Fiorentina. These are results previous Juventus teams of the last decade would never have suffered.
While there have been some impressive victories against AC Milan, Lazio and Napoli (on Wednesday night), this season has not gone according to plan for Juventus.
Even 25 goals from Cristiano Ronaldo will not be enough to lift a 10th straight Scudetto. Considering their past decade of Italian dominance, Juventus are the most disappointing club in Europe’s top five leagues this season – for that, they make our list of biggest football upsets from the 2020/21 campaign.