Why Did English Teams Do Badly in This Year’s Champions League?

Occasionally I get asked by SovSport magazine in Russia (where else would it be?) to comment on some aspect of English football for them. Latest questions: Why did English teams all do badly in the Champions League this season, and will Chelsea get through their Europa League quarter final against Rubin Kazan?

Obviously you’re an educated man (or woman), and you speak Russian, so you can read my answers here:  http://www.sovsport.md/gazeta/article-item/595129

Or right here on this jpeg (my bit’s the first big block in the middle section):
sov sport 19Mar13Or if you really want it in English:
1. I think a number of reasons – firstly everything goes in cycles in football, and we’ve had periods of Spanish and Italian teams dominating the Champions League as well as the English clubs, so that alone says there must be a change after a few years of domination. Second, most people agree the Premier League is not as good a standard as maybe three or four years ago. Man Utd are walking away with it despite a poorly performing defence this season; Chelsea were poor in the League last season, and are in a big transition period; Arsenal don’t have anything like the strength in the whole squad they used to have, and have been inconsistent all season; Man City are worse than they were last year.
It also seems that when ‘new’ clubs like Man City come into the Champions League it takes them a while to play consistently well in Europe, no matter what they are doing domestically – even if the players themselves have played in the CL before, it seems as though the club needs to learn how to do it.
And of course Man Utd and Arsenal both had tough draws in the last 16, against teams who could easily go to the final.
The law of averages says English teams will all do poorly one season – I expect on average they will do better next time!2. Chelsea or Rubin is a tough call, but I would go with Chelsea because of their greater European experience. Rubin have done very well in Europe this season and these are possibly the two strongest teams in the quarter finals. It also seems tough psychologically for teams to go to Russia in the middle of winter, but spring doesn’t seem so bad! Chelsea have proven an excellent cup team in the last few years and they are out of the Premier League title race, so this is big for them and despite their transition and their interim manager I think they will go through.
Of course I don’t know too much about Rubin, so I may be surprised! So far there has not been much media attention on the tie here, but I’m sure that will change in a couple of weeks when we all forget about the Champions League!

Follow me on Twitter: @AngryOfN5
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5 thoughts on “Why Did English Teams Do Badly in This Year’s Champions League?

  1. it’s about time the epl teams are eliminated. I thought the red faced could have won the treble with the Judas. How happy I was when the rf was kicked out by Mourino. Make no mistake. This rf thinks he has a god given right to win everything.
    Hopefully Wenger will win the epl and force him into retirement.The ep l will be be a much more peaceful environment without his intimidating presence to the refs.

  2. There are compound problems at work here. For one teams in Europe are definitely getting better, for example Germany is emerging as a new footballing powerhouse in Europe as their league itself are getting better and better.

    We can maybe attribute another issue to the gruelling English footballing schedule – especially around January when England get absolutely no breaks. Not sure on the impact of fatigue but it has been mentioned by bloggers and jouros alike.

    We can also see how European football is moving away from the rough and tumble style of England and although English teams have already moved in a similar fashion; However, the officiating has not. Horrific tackles are still deemed okay domestically but this can’t carry through to Europe.

    Lastly, preferential treatment that certain teams get – especially United – just won’t carry over to Europe. They won’t be getting too many of those so called “lucky” calls anymore, which makes them quite an average team. We can argue that they didn’t do that bad against Real Madrid, but on the flip side we can say that they got extremely lucky in the first leg – not conceding too many goals and resorting to defending for huge patches of the game, as well as getting lucky with the own goal on the second leg as well.

  3. English teams were indeed over-matched this season in the C,L but at least United and Arsenal came very close to moving on. Real and Bayern are definitely, along with Barcelona, the two toughest teams in the competition and likely finalists. English teams are not always used to the officiating that European referees offer and prefer their more docile and permissive EPL referees. There is also a degree of competitiveness in the EPL that is not seen in LaLiga, or Seria A. The Bundesliga resembles the EPL more than any other league and its teams seem to do very well. Wenger has noted that German and Spanish players seem to be the best buys now, and that implies that the leagues are also producing top quality. Curiously enough, these two leagues have produced the quarter-finalists this year!

    • Don, Arsenal did not come close to getting through, that’s an illusion caused by Bayern going into the second leg with a massive advantage and spending 90 minutes thinking about next week’s shopping or whatever. If it had been 0-0 or even 1-0 to Arsenal from the first leg, do you really think the game in Munich would have gone the way it did?
      Arsenal played well in the second leg, in a situation where they had nothing to lose. We know the team can play like that. The problem is they’re supposed to do it at least most of the time, if not all, not just when the other team have built up a lead and relaxed.

      • Don’t agree Phil for the following reasons:
        1) They were in front of their home fans, in their home arena (which I have been in a few times) and their pride wouldn’t let them play like idiots, nor would their fans accept that.
        2) Arsenal have gone into opponents home stadiums a number of times and come away with an unexpected win…they usually get up for big away games, because they can play without fear of being booed. Our away fans are fabulous.
        3) Indeed they had nothing to lose BUT they also had something to win…had they scored one more goal they’d have eliminated Bayern, just like last season with Milan.
        4) If the tie had been much closer, both teams would have battled for the win but Bayern were ready for AFC, they were simply outplayed, as Arsenal were in the first leg.Bayern didn’t have a bad match, AFC had a great one!
        5) It is not unrealistic or blinkered to consider that AFC, when on their game, are equals to any club in the world (including Barca) and I can’t understand why people don’t want to credit them with that capacity. Sure their performances are 2nd half ones and they are dreadfully inconsistent but when motivated and prepared, they are capable of superb achievements.

        Regardless, we will see what they are made of in the run-in.

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