Is There an English Dominance in the Champions League?
If this last Champions League knockout stage indicated or confirmed anything, it would be the clear dominance that the Premier league sides have enjoyed in the last few editions of the competition.
England's top four sides Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, and powerhouse Manchester United have all enjoyed great triumphs and success in Europe's premier competition over the years; but there's no era in history where I can remember them being so dominant and strong.
There was a time when believe it or not the Champions league was a competition with no clear favorites and a title all teams could hope to lift...not anymore. These days, the CL seems a title destined for the Premier league top four.
But just why is that? Is the Premier league stronger than La Liga, Serie A, and the Bundesliga combined; do they have stronger players? I personally doubt it. But they do seem to have something that others sides lack.
If anything, A.C Milan had squashed all these claims in my mind when a brilliant Kaka single-handedly carried his team unto the Finals by being decisive against Manchester United in the two semi final legs in 2007. They went on to lift the trophy in the final at Athens against Liverpool to the delight of all Serie A fans.
But now I know I was wrong, the simple fact that two English sides were represented in both the Semi final and Final alone in that edition should of been a clear sign of the Premier leagues newly found strength in the competition. It was just the beginning though; more was to come.
The 2008 Champions league was the one in particular that captivated my attention, Manchester United defied all odds as they ''steamrolled their way through to the finals comprehensively defeating everyone in the way."
Everyone team from Barcelona, Celtic to Chelsea, their fierce English Rivals was a merciless victim of the Red Devils. That English final in Russia was the beginning of a new Golden Era for English football, one I believe wont be easy to end.
This year could of been the perfect time to install a dent in that dominance as UEFA spurred some classic Italy vs England clashes and one Liverpool-Madrid game but the likes of Real Madrid, Roma, Inter and Juventus, although some fought proved no match for the well prepared and groomed stars of the Premier League.
For fans of the Serie A, La liga, (well maybe not Bundesliga) this round of 16 was painful to watch.
Manchester walked over Inter who well with all due respect do not have a great record in the Champions League at all. Jose Mourinho was brought in to change that but the special one ended up second best to the Scottish wizard Ferguson.
Roma fought back and took their tie with Arsenal to Penalties but Max Tonnetto bottled his Penalty so yet another English team prevailed, Juventus the best Italian performer in my opinion deserved better against Chelsea but Micheal Essien and Didier Drogba found a way through for the Blues.
Liverpool, with Torres and Gerrard hammered a sorry Real Madrid. I felt sad as I concluded there is an English dominance and I can feel another all-English final coming over the horizon.
To conclude this editorial, I have one last question:
Is it luck or dominance for the Prem sides?
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