English Clubs Aren't the Best in Europe
March 24, 2015
Despite Manchester United’s win over Liverpool at the weekend taking the gap between the top four in the English Premier League, and those chasing to five points; the race to reach the Champions League positions isn’t over yet. But should England be allowed four clubs contesting Europe’s premier competition after yet another sad showing by English teams in this season’s tournament? Liverpool fluffed their Champions League return in the group stage while Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City all fell at the first hurdle of the knockout rounds. It’s the second time in three years the Quarter Finals haven’t featured an English side, leaving many around Europe questioning whether the Premier League is all it’s cracked up to be?
England Exits Before Quarters
Liverpool won just one out of six games in their first taste of the Champions League since 2010, to go out of the competition with a whimper. You could use that same that word to describe Chelsea’s performance after their almost unthinkable exit at the hands of PSG. Having secured a credible if not lucky draw in Paris, Chelsea should have progressed after playing the majority of their home leg with a man advantage, when the visitor’s superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sent off. But the host’s embarrassing effort saw PSG stun Stamford Bridge and send Jose Mourinho’s men packing. Arsenal almost qualified for the Quarters after beating Monaco 2 nil in France but ultimately paid the price for that disastrous 3-1 loss at the Emirates in the first leg. Man City stumbled to Barcelona at the same stage for the second year running despite the best efforts of Goalkeeper Joe Hart. The English Champions forgettable first half in Manchester put them on the back foot and Barca capitalised, winning both legs. In fact the only memorable moments from City’s tie was their shot stopper’s sensational performances. In truth England’s number one made the score line look respectable after saving a penalty against Messi at the Etihad stadium before making multiple world class saves in the return match in Spain.
Europa Effort Also Poor
English clubs are also absent from the Europa League Quarter Finals, Europe’s second club competition. Liverpool once again disappointed after dropping to the tournament from the Champions League. Tottenham got out of their group with ease but the Spurs were knocked out by Italian Club Fiorentina during a tough run of fixtures. Everton was the only English team to reach the round of 16 before being dusted by Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine.
Call them valid points or excuses but reasons for English clubs failing in Europe have included the fact the Premier League doesn’t take a winter break like most other European Leagues and the actual competitiveness of the week to week football. Experts will argue that while some of the Mega Clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich are rarely tested in their own country, England’s big sides often bare battle scars of regular tough games. And is it for that very reason that most still believe the EPL is the best league in the world?
England has claimed three of the last ten Champions Leagues, the same number as Spain and one more than both Italy and Germany. But this year the English won’t add their tally while one of the other three counties are almost certain to. Whichever four English clubs are in the competition next season will have a point to prove. So could one of them secure the silverware for the first time since Chelsea’s heroics in 2012?