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Is the English club’s Champions League dominance back in Europe?

It is party time in England, as four Premier League teams will be playing in the Champions League quarter-finals.

RC
Last updated: 19.03.2019
Is the English club’s Champions League dominance back in Europe | Sports Social Blog

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It is party time in England, as four Premier League teams will be playing in the Champions League quarter-finals. Moreover, Chelsea and Arsenal have made their way through to the last of the Europa League. The first response to this would be ‘has the English club dominance resurfaced in Europe and what took it so long’?

It has been a decade since an English team reached the quarter-finals of the UCL. The last time it happened was in 2009. Three teams reached the semis- Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal -  but it was the Barcelona who went on to lift the coveted trophy. Only once in the Champions League history has there been an all-English final (Man United vs Chelsea, 2008 Moscow) and from 2005-07 English, clubs had reached the final in each of the three editions and it felt normal.

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Sadly in the decade since 2008, only three Premier League teams have made it to the finals and only Chelsea have won the Champions League - in unfavorable circumstance. The English clubs certainly can cherish their success of this season but they also need to ask what led to the 10 years of failure in the competition.

Along with such questions arise individual theories. Clubs are in transition, they have not changed the manager or the key players were out due to injury in crucial matches. In the knockout stages, there is always an element of surprise and randomness. Moments like Nani’s red card against Real Madrid in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last UCL game as United manager, Tottenham’s five-minute chaos theory against Juventus last season or Loris Karius’s blunders against Real Madrid in 2018 final gets highlighted and not in a good way.

So what has changed? Maybe nothing. Perhaps the lucky lady has finally found its way back home. United’s thrilling comeback in Paris, courtesy of the injury-time VAR penalty decision might not be a reliable win but it is good enough to believe that it this can be a beginning to the dominance of English clubs in Europe.

It always feels slightly unpleasant when managers with squads packed with an expensive player with glittering resume speak of their team an inexperienced but when such teams produce a notably mature performance like Spurs and Liverpool it becomes a lesson for their successors.

Louis van Gaal during his tenure as the United manager always termed Premier League as the “rat race” of English clubs and blamed it for their underachievement in Europe. Perhaps that “rat race” has now become a little less. The English football is not as hectic as it was in the past. There were 63 games in last edition as compared to around 200 games on 15 years earlier. Also out the 63 games played the top teams dominated most of the matched with possession of 70% or more. This means in more than half of the season, the elite sides win easily and even when they do not, the game is less tiring that it was.

One advantage that the Premier League sides have over their Italian, Spanish and German counterparts is the level of competition among the clubs. No one can predict who will win the league and every season comes with its on package of surprises.

So for now all the fans of Spurs, Manchester City, United and Liverpool party hard over the achievement of the four clubs in Champions League this season but it will all fall flat if it is not converted into a trophy.


Video: Which English club got the best Champions League draw? | The Debate




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