Premier League clubs have been sidelined by La Liga (Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona), Bundesliga (Bayern Munich) and Serie A (Juventus) clubs supremacy in the Europe’s elite competition in recent years. Last time a Premier League club reached at the semifinal stage of the Uefa Champions League was in 2015/16, when Manchester City was eliminated by Real Madrid losing 1-0 aggregate. And last time a Premier League club played in final was way back in 2011/12, when Chelsea ultimately won the competition against Bayern Munich on penalties. Since then, Bayern, Real Madrid and Barcelona have dominated the competition in later stages.
However, 2016/17 season has brought a change and it looks like Premier League clubs will dominate Champions League once again. All four of the Premier League qualified teams (Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur) made their place in last 16, and they are on their way to last 8 as well.
Their last 16 first leg results give a positive vibe about them qualifying for the next stage. Manchester City won 4-0 away against FC Basel, Tottenham Hotspur drew 2-2 with Juventus coming from behind in away game as well, and Liverpool made the cherry on top defeating FC Porto 5-0 in their away fixture as well. Only Manchester United need to be tested against Sevilla in their next week fixture. Otherwise, rests of the three have almost assured their place in quarter-finals.
It was 2007/08, when out of the four semifinalists, three of them belonged to Premier League. Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool reached the semifinals stage along with La Liga club Barcelona, where Manchester United and Chelsea made their way to final, which was won by United 1-1(6-5) on penalties.
We can sense the same kind of last four this season as well. If four of the teams in last eight will belong to Premier League, it will be a great boost for English football. You can imagine the Euphoria in England, and how good these clubs can do with the morale boost of reaching to the later stages of the competition after a long time.
Manchester City is inches away from including themselves in the elite list, Liverpool and Manchester United have already been there numerous time, and Hotspur is ready to make history. The way Tottenham come back from 2-0 down against Juventus to draw 2-2, it says a lot about their credibility.
We are moment away from seeing Premier League clubs dominating Europe again. They did well in last decade in which Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea dominated the competition. It’s time for these clubs to get their domination back from La Liga and Bundesliga clubs, and Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson have come forward to complement them.
He told on Sky Sports, The Debate program, “We don’t give credit when credit is due in this country. We often put great results down to luck or opposition having an off day. Our clubs played at the pace of the Premier League with power and pace, and the team couldn’t live with us.”
Merson adds complementing Pep Guardiola’s City side, “I think Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are fearful of Manchester City. Barca, Bayern and Real won’t want to face them over two legs, they may fancy their chances in a one-off game, but they will want to avoid drawing them.”
Premier League fans hope their teams find their rhythm back in Europe soon. Domestic football is good, but when it comes to Uefa Champions League, it brings another level of euphoria and nothing can match that.