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Giulianelli: Crystal Palace, Alaves and Benevento: Why Europe needs league reduction

So the last will be the first, this is what Jesus says in the Gospel according to Matthew.

Yes, maybe it's a bit inconsiderate to bring the Bible into a football argument, you're true if this is what you're thinking in this moment.

But in the the case of Benevento, the Gospel is not respected at all: after five days of Serie A, they are at the bottom of the table with 0 points and a really heavy goal difference of -15.

Benevento are at their first appearance in the Italian first division in their history, having been promoted during their first season in Serie B, the second division; a very particular and maybe unique story, of course.

But the impact with the main league has been, until now, really upsetting: just think that their scores in the last three matches have been the same number of defeats, 6-0 against Napoli, 4-0 against Roma and 2-0 versus Crotone.

In all their campaign they've been able to score just one goal, against Sampdoria on their true debut at the first day. The paradox is that in some matches, like the one against Sampdoria or even in the two defeats for 1-0 against Bologna and Torino they have showed a good football, at times.

Football is cynical and, in the end, what really matters is the results. And the results, at this time, are condemning Benevento. In an article full of stats, Benevento have been named the worst team in Europe by Marca.

Things are growing worse, because the captain of the club, Fabio Lucioni has been found positive of doping. Who could now raise the fate of Benevento, that seem to have ended their first experience in Serie A a few days after having started?

This story gives me the cue to extend my argument. Benevento are now on the mouths of many and many football experts and supporters, but, as I've mentioned before, there are many other clubs in all the main European leagues in conditions very similar. Alaves in La Liga and Crystal Palace in Premier League are all at the bottom of their own domestic league tables with 0 points - Koln have 1 point in the Bundesliga.

And talking about the gap with their forerunners, I can say that, while Benevento are just 2 points away from Genoa and Hellas Verona, the situation is much heavier for Alaves: in fact, above them is Deportivo with 4 points!

I don't want to annoy you with other numbers of stats about the other leagues, so I'll go immediately to the point. In my opinion, the European main leagues need to reduce the number of the clubs, to 18 or even 16.

This revolution could help the leagues be more competitive and balanced; moreover, having less clubs would mean the clubs would play less matches and this would reduce the injuries, helping the sides to keep fit for a longer time.

Of course the opposition to this change will come from the television companies that would have less matches to broadcast and to sell. But my question is: do you think it's better to have a bigger number of lower quality matches or a lower number of higher quality ones?

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