Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Stay Updated—Subscribe to our Newsletter

Do you plan to return to in-person learning this semester?

  • Yes (70%, 158 Votes)
  • No (30%, 68 Votes)

Total Voters: 226

Loading ... Loading ...
The Oarsman on Twitter
Twitter feed is not available at the moment.

Soccer Teams: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Reading Time: 8 minutes

As the international break looms next week, it’s time to zoom in on some of Europe’s renowned soccer teams. Fans ride a rollercoaster of emotions as they follow their teams’ fortunes. Every victory and defeat carries varying significance, shaping the season’s narrative. 

Let’s delve into the highs, lows, and turbulent rides experienced by some of Europe’s biggest football clubs this season.


GOOD: Bayer Leverkusen

Country – Germany

League – Bundesliga

League Position – 1st

Win Percentage – 86.8%

Manager: Xabi Alonso

Last match – Freiburg 2–3 Leverkusen (March 17th)

Next match – Leverkusen vs. Hoffenheim (March 30th)


German club Bayer Leverkusen–a team that many have never heard of–are the epitome of a team that “refuse to lose” this season. Under the reigns of new coach and former Spanish legend Xabi Alonso, Leverkusen have not lost a single match since last May, and that includes all club competitions. Rising from 6th place in the German Bundesliga to now leading Bayern Munich by 7 points, Leverkusen’s ascent has been remarkable. Despite their current involvement in the Europa League, it appears increasingly likely that they will secure a place in the Champions League next season. Their biggest scare came during the second round of the Europa League knockout stage on March 14, when Czech forward Patrik Schick scored two late goals to complete a comeback against Azerbaijani side Qarabağ.


With a countless number of victories and no losses, it’s impossible to encapsulate all of Leverkusen’s highlights in one article. However, a dominant 3–0 Bundesliga victory over reigning champions Bayern Munich is one that every player and fan will surely remember. The iconic win on February 10 cemented the true dominance of Bayer Leverkusen as a real contender on the German football stage. 

Every player on the team has truly shown up this season, however, the primary source of their greatness predominantly emanates from one position on the pitch: the wing-backs. Starting left-back Álex Grimaldo and right wing-back Jeremie Frimpong have both shown immense passion and amazing work ethic, truly a testament to the depth of Bayer Leverkusen. They’re both really darn versatile, with both having good defensive work rates while also being the team’s 2nd and 3rd leading scorer respectively. Most of the forwards on the team have fewer goals than them! While Frimpong has been with the team since 2021, Grimaldo transferred in at the start of the season, and it’s safe to say he’s been one of–if not the best–signing for any team this year.

What’s left this season?

Bayer Leverkusen currently remain in every league and cup competition that they started the season in, and it would be impossible for them not to be. Why? I think you probably already know. 

Leverkusen have been first in the Bundesliga since September, and given the fact that there’s only 8 games left in the season, it’d be hard for them to loosen their grasp on the title. The biggest game to watch will be against Bundesliga runners-up Borussia Dortmund on April 20.

Leverkusen are currently in the semi-finals of DFB-Pokal, Germany’s knockout cup competition. The team had a close call against VfB Stuttgart in the quarter-finals, winning 3–2, but managed to slide through. Surprisingly, none of the other 3 teams that remain in the cup (1. FC Saarbrücken, 1. FC Kaiserslautern, Fortuna Düsseldorf) are in the top division of German football, with Saarbrücken making a historic run, beating many Bundesliga teams, including Bayern Munich. Regardless of this, Leverkusen are heavy favorites to win the trophy.

Last but definitely not least, Bayer Leverkusen are still alive and kicking in the Europa League, the competition that they reached the semi-finals of last season. However, with the season they’re having, it’s certainly Leverkusen’s to lose. They will play their quarter-final fixtures against English club West Ham in a home and away leg match, taking place on the 11th and 18th of April. This competition will test Leverkusen pitting them against top teams from outside German borders, such as English club Liverpool, Italian club AC Milan, and Portuguese club Benfica, each of which is bound to showcase loads of their rich history and prestige in Europe’s top tournaments. 

If–and only if–Bayer Leverkusen are able to win every trophy they can and stay undefeated, the triumph would cement itself into not only Leverkusen’s, German, or European history, but as one of the greatest seasons of any club in the history of the sport.


BAD: Sevilla FC

Country – Spain

League – La Liga

League Position – 15th

Win Percentage – 24.4%

Manager – Quique Sánchez Flores

Last match: Sevilla 1–2 Celta Vigo (March 17th)

Next match: Getafe vs. Sevilla (March 30th)


It’s safe to say last year’s UEFA Europa League champions have not lived up to the hype this season at all. They’re 14th place in the La Liga, Spain’s top division, and while that isn’t relegation level bad, it’s quite shambolic for a team who consistently challenges for top 5 in the competition. While Sevilla did finish in 12th place last season, again, they had the Europa League victory to their name. Unfortunately, there will be no trophies to mask their failures this time around, as Sevilla finished dead last in their Champions League group, picking up 2 draws and 4 losses out of 6 matches.

The Problem


Selling Moroccan World Cup star Yassine Bounou in 2023 may not have been the best move to make, because Sevilla’s current goalies are simply not up to par. Serbian Marko Dmitrović and Norwegian Ørjan Nyland consistently start for the club, however, they are both over the age of 30 with little to no pedigree to their names. Regardless of Sergio Ramos and co. ‘s presence in defense, every team is susceptible to leaking goals without a quality goalkeeper, which is what Sevilla tends to do.

The Coach

While current manager Quique Sánchez Flores has been able to find some form with an aging Sevilla side, he hasn’t been able to get consistent results throughout his tenure. Similarly enough, the club itself has struggled to find a dependent coach to lead the team, switching between 6 coaches in a span of 2 seasons. Despite the wins not always being there, Sevilla’s owners may want to consider keeping Quique on their side.

The Solution

Simply put, Sevilla needs a complete reset. In addition to their goalkeepers, their attackers have been subpar at best. While the team is capable of scoring lots of goals, Sevilla really needs a clinical striker who can put a game to bed. Dominic Solanke, Artem Dovbyk, and Luuk De Jong are all quality strikers that have plenty of experience in Europe’s top leagues. None of their market values are that high, so they would be perfect for a Sevilla side who aren’t earning much money from their victories.

At this stage of the season, suggesting that Sevilla could secure qualification for a European competition like the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Europa League seems improbable, although it remains statistically possible. The counter-intuitive reality is that Sevilla would be better off not qualifying for an extra competition, as they can work on rebuilding the squad and trying to focus on the La Liga and the Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) next season. If Sevilla can give their new signings time to get acclimated within the team and in Spain in general, they could be a genuine force to reckon with next season.


UGLY: Chelsea FC

Country – England

League – Premier League

League Position – 11th

Win Percentage – 48.7%

Manager – Mauricio Pochettino

Last match: Chelsea 4–2 Leicester (March 17th)

Next match: Chelsea vs. Burnley (March 30th)


If you take a look at Chelsea’s record this season, it’s all over the place, and full of wins, losses, and draws alike. As a Chelsea fan myself, I can attest to the unpredictable and inconsistent nature of this team, and it’s hard to give the team a label as being either “good” or “bad”, hence the term “ugly”. However, as the youngest team in the Premier League this season, all of these mishaps are understandable. With an average age of 24 years (and many of their starters being much younger), Chelsea is looking to build the foundation of a continental powerhouse for years to come, with the media and the board constantly referring to it as the “project”. Chelsea seems to have slightly improved as opposed to last season, where they finished 12th in the league, their lowest finish since 1994. This has resulted in Chelsea not participating in any European competitions this season, giving them more opportunities to hone their skills in domestic cups.

The Problem

If I haven’t made it clear enough, Chelsea are really inconsistent, with the team losing to second-division club Middlesbrough 1–0 in January, then proceeding to thrash them 6–1 a mere two weeks later. The issue is that due to the erratic nature of Chelsea owner Todd Boehly, the club has made sudden transfers that have cost us over £1 billion (approximately $1.3 billion). As many of these players have arrived within the last year, they haven’t had the time to properly build chemistry, but they’re working on it now.

Chelsea’s players, due to their young age, are prone to letting pressure get to them, which results in unforced errors in the defense and midfield. In the Blues’s last game against Leicester City, for example, the players scored some amazing goals but also made mistakes that led to Leicester scoring. Chelsea also doesn’t have a clinical striker to deploy in times of need, similar to Sevilla. Many players such as Nicolas Jackson and Mykhailo Mudryk are finding their places within the squad, however there are simply too many missed opportunities from the lot of them.

Ultimately, the team tends to invite pressure when it’s not necessary, and while moments of brilliance are bound to occur, most of the players don’t yet have enough Premier League experience to always compete with the top teams.

The Solution

Despite the irregularity that the team faces, Chelsea is home to many talented young players who are well capable of creating moments of magic. Cole Palmer, the newly signed English player, has made a substantial impact for the Blues, contributing 14 goals and 12 assists. Him and English midfielder Conor Gallagher can find the back of the net even when they’re not playing at their best. Keeping these players and others such as Enzo Fernández, Moisés Caicedo and Malo Gusto will be a great investment for Chelsea to make as they gain both experience and consistency. 

Although it’s cliché, and everyone says it, this young team truly does need time to grow and thrive. Chelsea lost the EFL Cup final 1–0 against Liverpool on February 25, but with more experience on their side, they would surely have won that match.

This is precisely why Chelsea need to sign a couple of older players during the summer transfer window, ideally between the age range of about 25–29. Napoli striker Victor Osimhen is heavily linked to a Chelsea transfer, with forwards Lautaro Martínez and Kingsley Coman also being targets that the owners should consider. Chelsea is in desperate need of a quality striker, and with these players currently on top form, they could guide the Blues to a goal when they need it the most.

What’s left this season?

Chelsea’s 2023/24 season has truly felt like an eternal roller-coaster ride, and it’s not even over yet.

Despite Chelsea being in the bottom half of the Premier League table in 11th, there’s still plenty of time for them to secure qualification for a lower-tier European competition such as the Europa League or the Conference League. They’re only 5 points behind 7th place West Ham United, and with 2 games in hand, a couple of victories could put Chelsea into a qualification spot. However, it would be very unlikely for the team to reach anything higher than 6th place, as 5th place Tottenham currently remain 14 points ahead of the Blues with 11 matches to go. The biggest matches to watch will be Chelsea v. Manchester United on April 4 and 1st place Arsenal v. Chelsea (date TBD).

The EFL Cup has already come to a close, where Chelsea lost 1–0 to Liverpool in the final of the tournament. Despite not winning the trophy, this gives all the players a boost of experience.

Chelsea have the chance to right these wrongs and win the FA Cup, the oldest football tournament in the world. On March 17, Chelsea defeated Leicester City 4–2 in the quarter-finals, with an own goal by Chelsea defender Axel Disasi being canceled out by two last minute goals by Carney Chukwuemeka and Noni Madueke. In the semi-finals, Chelsea are set to face reigning treble winners (Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Champions League) Manchester City on April 21. If the Blues are able to overcome Manchester City and win the FA Cup, it would give them an automatic berth to the UEFA Europa League next season, which would prove to be very beneficial for the team.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All The Oarsman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • D

    Dr. Norman B. ThotApr 23, 2024 at 1:31 AM

    I am quite pleased and surprised that my old high school has an article on Bayer Leverkusen. Thank you for that! They did in fact win the Bundesliga for the first time, and are therefore no longer Neverkusen or Vizekusen.