The last time an English club side won the UEFA Champions League was in 2012 when Chelsea, against all odds, defeated Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena to clinch the trophy for the first time in history.
Seven years after, no English team has won the Champions League, albeit Liverpool came close in winning it in 2018 only to lose to Real Madrid 3-1 in the final.
However, there seem to be a new hunger, determination and zeal from the four England representatives; Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham in Europe this season as they have done pretty well to book their places in the quarterfinals of the competition.
Achieving this feat didn’t come easy as Manchester United shocked Paris Saint-German (PSG) 3-1 in Paris after losing the first leg 2-0 at Old Trafford to qualify on away goal aggregate.
Also, Tottenham defeated another high-flying team in Germany, Borussia Dortmund 4-0 on aggregate, winning both the first and second leg.
Manchester City made a meal of Schalke 04 as they annihilated the German team 7-0 at Etihad in the second leg after winning the first leg 3-2 to qualify 10-2 on aggregate.
Perhaps the icing on the cake was Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the second leg after both teams settled for a stalemate at Anfield in the first leg.
It would be worthy to note that the four teams brushed aside by the English Teams (perhaps excluding Shalke 04) have what it takes to win the Champions League, however, that was to be the end of their European campaign.
Looking at the four teams remaining in the Champion League based on their strengths and weaknesses such as Barcelona, Ajax, Porto, and Juventus; it could be assumed that the Premier League clubs appear to have a bright chance of winning the trophy if they maintain their current run of form.
How will EPL teams perform in the UCL
Manchester United v Barcelona
Manchester United booked their place in the last eight thanks to a dramatic comeback victory over Paris Saint-German that saw them recover from losing the first leg 2-0 at home to progress on away goals after a thrilling 3-1 win in France.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men now face a tough task as they’ve been drawn to take on Barcelona in the next round after the Spanish Champions eased past Lyon. United will play the first leg at Old Trafford before the decisive second leg at the Nou Camp.
Liverpool v Porto
Liverpool also produced a spectacular performance in Germany this week to book their place in the quarter-finals with a 3-1 aggregate victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
Jurgen Klopp’s side
Tottenham v Man City
Tottenham made light work of a dangerous Borussia Dortmund side to see-off the Bundesliga giants 4-0 over the two legs in the previous round but the north Londoners will now face a herculean challenge after being pitted against Manchester City in an all-Premier League quarter-final clash.
Pep Guardiola’s side produced a devastating second leg display at the Etihad on Tuesday night to thrash Schalke 7-0 and book their place in the last-eight with a 10-2 aggregate victory; hence they’ll be favourites to get past Spurs over two legs.
In the other tie, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus will take on Ajax – who beat Real Madrid in the last round. The first legs will be played on April 9/10th with the return legs the following week.
The path to the final has also been drawn and the winner of Tottenham/Man City will face the winner of Ajax/Juventus while Barcelona or Man Utd will take on Liverpool or Porto.
Based on the above pairings, the most likely semi finalists could be Juventus, Barcelona, Liverpool and Man City; except the impossible happens. That doesn’t mean the other four teams don’t have the potential to break through the ranks.
Besides, Liverpool remains one of the few teams in England that have won the trophy seven times and with the calibre of players currently at their disposal such as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Virgil Van Dijk, it does appear they could win the trophy.
More so, Manchester City under Pep Guardiola have shown that they won’t be pushover in the Champions League with the sweet victory over Schalke 04 and will want to prove a point against any tough oppositions such as Juventus or Barcelona especially that they can stand the test of time.
In terms of quality, players such as Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Kelvin De Bruyne are game changers that Pep can count on to deliver the goals for him in critical moments.
On the other hand, a rejuvenated Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjær also possesses the fighting spirit and self-belief to win the Champions League after that spectacular win over PSG in Paris. The victory will serve as a statement of intent that will also create fear in the minds of their opposition and Barcelona know this.
Consequently, Tottenham could well claim a strong push for the Champions League trophy considering the fact that they have Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Lukas Moura to count on at any giving point in time. Of the four English teams though, they look like the weak link.
By and large, the task before the four England teams in Europe are huge, however, impossible is nothing in the game of football.
Will an English team file out at the 68,000 capacity Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid come Saturday, June 1, 2019 for the final match? Only time will tell.
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