Man City imperious: Why the Champions League could return to England

The Premier League has on time without number been hailed as they toughest and most entertaining division in Europe and the world over, yet English teams have spasmodically performed dismally in the Champions League.

In fact, Spanish teams have made gimmes out of the competition over the last decade, often forcing English outfits to painstakingly watch from the sidelines.

Although Spanish powerhouses like Barcelona and Real Madrid are heavy favorites- with Sevilla being the third La Liga representatives left in the current campaign- there has been an abrupt resurgence of English teams in gargantuan proportions, one that has them genuinely fancying their chances in the Champions League this season.

 

Group stage dominance

There is safety in numbers and for English teams, fielding five representatives to the Champions League was always going to play out to their liking.

Chelsea were the first team to qualify by merit of being crowned Premier League champions, while Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool occupied the last qualifying slots.

Manchester United’s success in the Europa League likewise had them promoted to the top tier European Cup competition, solidifying England’s presence in the tournament.

All the teams, with the exception of Chelsea, finished top of their respective groups to advance into the last 16 of the Champions League; a stage in which they would exceed and excel in expectation.

 

Imperious Round of 16

Liverpool and City will play the second leg of the last 16 as a matter of formality, having registered huge away wins of 5-0 and 4-0 against Porto and Basel respectively, while Spurs already have one foot in the quarter-final after a 2-2 draw with Juventus in Turin.

Manchester United will have to prove their mettle with a trip to Sevilla, but it is Chelsea that will face the sternest test yet when they play host to Barcelona at Stamford Bridge.

Jose Mourinho is a specialist in knock out tournaments, with wins in the EFL Cup and Europa League last season a living testament, and is by principal expected to tame Sevilla, immaterial of how he does it.

Even if strugglers Chelsea are hung out to dry by the La Liga leaders, England could still potentially have four teams in the Champions League quarter-final.

This unmistakably puts them in a pivotal position to deliver the evasive yet coveted Champions League crown.

 

Written by Brian Humphrey

Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum

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