So Slaven Bilic thinks West Ham United can finish in the top four and therefore qualify for next season's Champions League? Based on West Ham's pathetic showing in this year's Europa League, this would be a disaster for English football. 


This year, England faced the real possibility that their fourth Champions League spot would be lost to Italy. At the start of the season, had Italian clubs matched the performances of English clubs, then that place would have been lost for the 2017/18 season. 

West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United - Premier League


Thanks to Manchester City and Liverpool, and the unexpected early exits for Roma, Juventus, and, in particular, Napoli, that disaster has been avoided for 2017/18 at least.


But, we're not out of the woods yet. For 2018/19, the situation is still precarious with the current situation too tight to call. After this season, England will have 61.034 points to Italy's 59.082, but after next season, before the performances of the countries are added, England will lose another 2.012 points to Italy, so again, next season it is important that English teams perform better than their Italian counterparts.


Liverpool still have the chance to add to England's total this season, but herein lies the problem. If Liverpool beat Sevilla, they gain another point. But this point is divided by the number of entrants from that country in Europe that season. So, Liverpool would only actually gain 0.125 extra points for winning the trophy.

The dreadful European campaigns of both West Ham and Southampton could have a long-term effect on the whole of English football. 

FBL-EUR-C3-LIVERPOOL-VILLARREAL


English teams have amassed 114 points this season, so average 14.25. Take away West Ham's contribution of 3.5 and the average would be 15.93, thus giving England a clear advantage over Italy next season. 


If we remove Southampton, the situation would have been even better, as England would have had 18 points, and would actually be challenging Germany for second spot rather than looking over their shoulders at Italy coming up in 4th.

In short, West Ham let English football down with their showing this season in Europe (as did Southampton).


Already it looks like they will qualify for the Europa League at least, so one has to hope that they really need to perform better this time round, so as not to let themselves down, and more importantly, not to let the country down. 

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