Connect in the back of the net

With the draw for the Champions League made on Thursday, Europe’s premier clubs learned their fate on who they face in the group stage, which kicks off this coming September.

From the English perception, five teams will begin their quest in winning the illustrious crown that players, managers and fans crave to see their own team lift.

With five being the biggest representative England has had in the last decade, the question is, which team has best chance of winning the Champions league.

 

Can Mourinho return the Ferguson years for Manchester United?

By winning the Europa League last season, Manchester United obtained a spot in this seasons Champions League.

Although, they are back to where they belief they deserve, United’s fortunes in Europe have been mixed in previous seasons and have not come close to winning it since 2011. Yet, having a proven winner like Mourinho at the helm and having European success last season, United feel they can progress into the later stages in the Champions League.

There has been mixed reactions from the group they have put into. United will face Portuguese champions Benfica, Swiss side FC Basel and CSKA Moscow.

Although on paper this is seen as a straightforward task, United finished third in a group featuring Benfica and Basel which will make them wary of the challenges these teams possess.

Nevertheless, with a strong start to the new season and having a compatible squad, the mood around United will feel like they can challenge with the best.

 

Will Conte have European success with Chelsea?

After a year absence of European football, Antonio Conte has returned Chelsea to the Champions League as the league champions of England.

Chelsea sole success in the Champions League came in 2012, with their last proper attempt of challenging came in 2014, where they were defeated by Atletico Madrid. With their return, can the blues replicate their 2012 success?

Chelsea have been drawn against Atletico Madrid, Roma and Azerbaijani outfit FK Qarabag. With a lack of squad depth according to Conte, this put Chelsea in a difficult position as both Atletico and Roma have European pedigree.

Moreover, Antonio Conte does not contain as much European experience from a managerial perspective, with a quarter final finish with Juventus his best showing to date.

In saying that, Chelsea have the players and the capability of upsetting the odds in their conquest of winning the European Cup for only their second time in their history.

 

Can Liverpool recreate the memorable nights at Anfield?

With Jurgen Klopp’s men coming through the playoffs, Liverpool have returned to the Champions League after a two year absence.

Although there has been a lack of transfer activity in this summer’s market, Liverpool can feel confident that they can be in Europe’s premier competition after Christmas.

The reds have been placed in Group E, where they face Sevilla (repeat of the 2016 Europa League Final), Russian Champions Spartak Moscow and Swedish side NK Maribor.

Although it’s a relatively straight forward group than some of the other English sides (Chelsea and Tottenham), Liverpool will be wary of being overconfident. They met Sevilla in the 2016 Europa League final, while playing in Russia is no easy task.

But if Liverpool can hold onto Philippe Coutinho and utilise him along with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, while making Anfield a European fortress, Liverpool should pose a strong attacking threat in an attempt for glory.

 

Can Guardiola get it right for Manchester City?

Since the arrival of the Abu Dhabi United Group, the prospect of City challenging and winning the Champions League was greatly expected, especially with the amount of money spend in the last decade.

However, a sole semi-final finish in 15-16 campaign is their greatest feat to date as City struggle to adapt to European football. Pep Guardiola’s first season in general was disappointing but with heavy investment spend on new recruits, progress and silverware is expected.

Manchester City have been drawn into a modest group, with Dutch champions Feyenoord, Italian side Napoli and Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine their opponents.

City are expected to top the group due to the talent they have at their disposal, with the likes of De Bruyne, Aguero and Jesus a taste of what they have.

Additionally, with Guardiola having European Pedigree over the last decade, one should expect City to make it to the latter stages of the competition.

 

Spurs need to make Wembley a fortress to have a chance to progress

By finishing second in the league last year, Spurs have entered the group stages of the Champions League for the second successive year and only the third time of this competition’s current format.

This is a feat to suggest that the Tottenham squad are becoming serious challengers for domestic honours. However, they may have a more strenuous task in hands than their domestic rivals.

Tottenham have been placed in group H along with current holders Real Madrid, 2013 finalists Borussia Dortmund and Cypriot side Apoel Nicosia.

Spurs have a lot to do in order to dislodge the two favourites in the group (Real and Dortmund) in order to progress out of the group. However, they will have to do it at Wembley, a place where Spurs have struggled for form.

Last season, Spurs lost two out of three home games, which prevented their progress.

Spurs do contain players that can upset the odds (Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen) and if they can show the form that push Chelsea close, who wouldn’t bet against them against Europe’s best.

 

Verdict

Overall, and judging on how each team’s respective league performance, managerial European experience and group difficulty, Manchester United have the best chance for English success in Europe.

With a solid team structure formed and the success Mourinho has had in Europe, no one should bet against United. On the other hand, Tottenham will have their work cut out for them if they want to achieve European success since 1984.

In staying that, there is still work to be done from all the English teams, if they are going to be on the same level as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Juventus. But with Monaco’s success story last season, this should give the teams from England hope.

 

Written by James Reidy

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