Why Are The English Clubs Suddenly Looking Good In The Champion’s League Again?

Posted: November 3, 2017 in Arsenal, Champions League, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Tottenham Hotspur
Tags: , ,

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It is now five years since Chelsea, after very fortuitous wins in the semi-final and final, won the Champion’s League. Had they not had that good fortune back in 2012, then it would have been nine years since an English club last won the trophy, that being Manchester United, on penalties, against Chelsea.

Since that Chelsea victory England has had at least four representatives every season with only Manchester City, who reached the semi-final in 2016 under Manuel Pellegrini, getting anywhere near the final.

Last season saw Arsenal, Manchester City, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur qualify for the tournament with only Leicester progressing as far as the quarter finals where they narrowly lost to Atlético Madrid 2-1 on aggregate.

Although it is still early days in this season’s competition, it looks as though England will have all five entrants still in the tournament in February when it re-starts.

So why the sudden change? What has happened to suddenly transform the English clubs into Europe-beaters?

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Chelsea

One of the big names missing from last year’s competition Chelsea made sure they weren’t going to miss out this time by winning the Premier League title.

In truth, of the English clubs in this year’s Champion’s League, Chelsea have looked the least convincing. This is not the way it appeared to be at the onset when it was Liverpool who were held to a home draw, but they have since put a decent run together.

Antonio Conte’s men, having been quite fortunate not to lose against Roma at Stamford Bridge when they only picked up a point, were abject in losing against them in Rome.

Their only saving grace was the draw between Atlético Madrid and Qarabag, which means that they are still favourites to progress along with Roma.

On their current form though, they will not be in the competition for much longer.

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Liverpool

As previously mentioned, Liverpool drew their first home game against Sevilla, then they drew their next game, away in Moscow. Since then they have recorded back to back wins against Maribor, scoring 10 goals against them in the process.

They have their fate in their own hands but the dropped points against Sevilla and a poor performance against CSKA Moscow, may come back to haunt them.

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Manchester City

City actually look good enough to win the trophy this season. As we write, they have already qualified for the knockout stages with a 100% record. They have beaten the Italian league leaders home and away and will probably not meet a better team, on paper anyway, in the competition.

The difference between this year and last is quite remarkable. Yes, Guardiola has now been there longer but he has also addressed what were perceived to be problems with the team. He has replaced his ageing full-backs with newer models and he has brought in Ederson as his first choice goalkeeper.

These changes, along with some blistering domestic displays, have turned City into THE team to beat if any club wants to win either the Premier League or the Champion’s League.

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Manchester United

The other big English name missing from the competition last year. Nowhere near good enough to win the Premier League last time out they made sure of qualification by winning the Europa League and some astute signings have made them a far stronger proposition this year.

Another team, like City, with a 100% record in the tournament although they still need one more point to ensure qualification to the next round.

José Mourinho has now settled in at Old Trafford and the future looks bright but his team will have to be better in the later stages of the Champion’s League if they wish to progress.

The main difference between this year and last is purely that this year they are in the competition, whereas last year they didn’t qualify.

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Tottenham Hotspur

What a difference a year makes. Spurs’ travails at Wembley were front and centre last season as failure in the Champion’s League was immediately followed by failure in the Europa League.

Playing home games at Wembley was the obvious scapegoat but, in fairness to Mauricio Pochettino, it was never an excuse he used.

This season has seen Tottenham turn it round completely, culminating in back to back games against Real Madrid producing four points, results which would have been unimaginable last season.

After City, Tottenham and Manchester United probably have the best chance of going all the way in this competition and the difference between last season and now can be summed up in one word; c-o-n-f-i-d-e-n-c-e.

So if an English club fails to win the trophy this season at least we can say, for the first time in a while, that they all gave it a good shot even if some of those shots were better than others!

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