Lille Afforded Big Advantage Over Aston Villa

French Ligue 1 Trump Premier League in Helping Their Clubs

In-form Lille seems to have all the luck when it comes to the Europa Conference League quarter-final against Aston Villa. First of all, they play the first leg away from home, with the concluding leg at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, where they have the best home record in Ligue 1 this season.

Since the two quarter-final legs are played a week apart, the biggest advantage the French team has over Villa is the fact that French Ligue 1, in a supportive action for their three teams in European competition, has postponed their league games for week 29 of the season. Therefore, Lille, like both PSG and Marseille, won’t have to play at the weekend between their European ties.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel, identifying an opportunity to help their teams in Europe, stepped in and officially postponed the sides’ league matches until April 24th.

The progress of French clubs in European Cups is an absolute priority“, the LFP said in their statement. “All points scored are fundamental for France’s UEFA co-efficient ranking. Football constitutes a national flagship and, through the performances of clubs at European level, allows France to shine internationally.

Meanwhile, Villa, of course, will face a demanding trip to the Emirates to play Arsenal, who themselves while also in Europe, will have had an extra two days rest, having played Bayern Munich on the Tuesday night.

As reported in The Athletic, Villa boss Unai Emery, alluded to the fact that the Premier League should do more to help English clubs in Europe.

“We are speaking about the match tomorrow, we are in a conference speaking about the match tomorrow,” said Emery, in the pre-Lille press conference. “We were thinking the amount we are going to play (against Arsenal) it’s not good for us, for me and for everybody.

“I think it’s better for the English team (to have games rescheduled either side of European fixtures). We are playing in Europe, I think the Premier League can support us as well.”

Premier League’s Previous Hindrance

Villa were particularly unhappy that their pivotal league clash with Spurs at Villa Park was brought forward to 1pm at the ‘request of police’, while more than coincidentally the Liverpool v Manchester City game on the same day got the later prime time spot on the Sunday. According to The Athletic, Villa had requested the Spurs game to be put back to the Monday night to help them.

With so much attention focusing on the UEFA coefficient rankings this season to earn an extra place in the reformed Champions’ League, you’d have thought the Premier League would have followed the French example and been more proactive in helping their teams gain that extra spot.


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