English Football – Has it lost its shine in recent years?




The defending European Champions – Chelsea lost their final chance to recover lost pride after losing to Brazilian side Corinthians in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup. Chelsea of course lost out on defending their Champions League title two weeks earlier. Chelsea also became the first defending champions to exit the tournament in the group stage.

English Football – Has it lost its shine in recent years?

English Football – Has it lost its shine in recent years?

The question is not about Chelsea alone, it’s about English football altogether. This year in the UEFA Champions League group stage defending Spanish, German, English and Dutch sides were grouped together. The group turned out be a two horse race very soon when Dortmund and Madrid pulled away from the other two sides at ease. Ajax Amsterdam managed to defeat City and secure a draw at the Etihad to secure a 3rd spot in the group and qualify for the UEFA Europa League. City then became the first English team to exit a Champions League tournament without a single win.

Spanish football that most regard as a two horse race for years has turned out to be the best performer in the current Champions’ League campaign after all their four teams made it to the next round of the tournament.  Three German sides and two Italian sides made it to the group stage and all of them reached the next round.

Atletico Madrid, who are the defending Europa League Champions, failed to get a Champions’ League spot this year but are looking well set to get one this year after their strong start to the season. The Europa League winners trashed the Champions’ League winners Chelsea 4-1 in the UEFA Super Cup earlier this season.

The performances of the English teams have now fallen a long way. The most successful English team overall and in Europe – Liverpool, has not been part of the Champions’ League for three continuous seasons now.

Last year in the Champions League, both the Manchester Clubs failed to go past the group stage. City got another tough group with Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villareal. They got 10 points but still failed to qualify just like Chelsea this year. United on the other hand got one of the easiest groups and were knocked out into the Europa League.

Arsenal and Chelsea went through to the next round. Arsenal was defeated by a Milan side that trashed them 4-0 at the San Siro. The Gunners came back strongly in the second leg but could only manage a score line of 3-0. Chelsea meanwhile was also on the verge of an exit after losing to Napoli 4-1 in Italy. This was when they sacked Villa Boas and appointed the man with the golden touch, the Midas of Chelsea – De Matteo. Chelsea then went on to be the Champions despite being the underdogs in most of the matches. In the process they defeated Barcelona in the semifinals and Bayern Munich in the final at Allianz Arena.  The win was still not convincing enough.

There were two Spanish Teams in the semifinals of the Champions League in the last two years. The teams were of course Real Madrid and Chelsea. There used to be a time in the tournament when there were four English teams in the semifinal stage. Like in 2008-09 when Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea had reached the last four. Liverpool exited in the quarter finals after losing to Chelsea; if not maybe it would have been an English cup.  The year before that in 2007-08 it were Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool in the semifinals and United had eliminated Arsenal in the quarter finals. The year before that also there were three teams from England – Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United.

The English football dominated the last decade. Then came the new decade and with it a new era coupled with a shift in power. Spanish football took over. The UEFA Coefficient which ranks the leagues was highest for The Premier League and now the top spot belongs to the Spanish.

Last year in the UEFA Europa League, Manchester United were knocked out of the tournament by another Spanish side. The semifinalists of the tournament had three Spanish sides and the winners were also Spanish.

The Premier League is still the most watched and followed league in the world. The league has more competition than any other league in the world. The league has a shift in power that no other league in the world has seen. Teams that were once the powerhouses of the league have been relegated and destroyed. Teams that had won the Champions League before have been a pushover teams to the new big names. Some of them have dropped down the tiers of English football.

But the league now has failed to cope with the teams from other European Leagues. Premier League has now become more of a money game with more players moving there in search of money. The quality of the league has dropped.

Will we see another rise? Will we see another English triumph this year in the Champions League? Wait till the end of the season.

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