If someone stated a few weeks back that the only club who could be in the next knockout round of a European competition from England would be Everton, they would have been called a raving lunatic. Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea all are, on paper, better teams than Everton but it is the Toffees who are guaranteed to play on in Europe, after their impressive win against the Young Boys from Sweden.
The latest capitulation from the so-called best teams from the best league in the World would have left a bitter taste. Chelsea were knocked out of the UEFA Champions league courtesy of a 2-2 draw at home against PSG. The French Champions were down to 10 men from the 31st minute but were still able to level the game, twice when just a few minutes were remaining to knock out Chelsea and progress into the next round. The display from Chelsea was dire and questions will be asked but did anyone really expect such an outcome from the knockout rounds?
Merry old England out of Europe
The only team that has been given some sort of leeway when the knockout fixtures were announced was Manchester City as they had to face Barcelona and they were lucky to only lose 2-1 to Barcelona, which could have been worse had Messi not missed a penalty right at the end. City do have a chance to qualify, but they would need to perform brilliantly at the Nou Camp to turn around the deficit.
Speaking of deficits, if there was one club who was happy after the fixtures were announced it would have been Arsenal. They avoided most of the big guns and had to face a Monaco side that had lost Falcao and Rodriguez this season, but it was the French side who came up trumps with a 3-1 win at the Emirates. Arsenal will have to come all guns firing to ensure they make it to the next round.
The so called best league in the world could not cope with the lower rung of European competition with Liverpool and Tottenham both losing out in the knockout round. The performances by both the clubs was again rather poor over two looks and people would need to have a long hard think before they can state that the Premier League is the best league in the world.
Sure, the Premier League does attract the best names or at least some of the best names in the world and more importantly, any club can beat any team on a given day in the Premier League but that is not enough. The real test lies in what a team can do in European competition and unfortunately for the Premier League that has not been something they can boast about, at least this season.
If the Premier League keeps on getting knocked out of the Champions League, Liverpool were knocked out in the group stages, they could end up losing one spot in the Champions League and have only 3 spots. Not too long ago, Italy would have 4 spots in the Champions League but poor performances from their clubs have reduced the number to three. The Premier League has some work to do and also, we need to stop calling it the best league in the world all the time. It may have some great matches on a weekly basis but they can’t seem to get it done in Europe.