Champions League Power Shift: EPL Falls Behind La Liga and Bundesliga
This was another disappointing week in the Champions League for the English Premier League fans.
This time around, only Arsenal managed to collect all three points, with Chelsea and Manchester United recording defeats on the road and Manchester City clawing their way back against Real Madrid to ensure a hard-fought, yet meaningless draw.
The situation gets worse for the fans—Manchester City have been eliminated and Chelsea seem to be on the same path toward an another group-stage exit for EPL representatives.
Meanwhile, all Bundesliga and La Liga teams have already ensured knockout stage qualification with one game still left to be played. What's more, EPL teams failed to record a single win in five direct meetings with German and Spanish clubs this year.
But where and why did it all go wrong for EPL?
Even though Chelsea won the Champions League, the first signs of EPL's downfall could have been observed last year. Both Manchester clubs, arguably the strongest teams in EPL, were knocked out in group stage and Arsenal soon followed as they were beaten by Milan in the round of 16.
The style in which the Blues won the Champions League was also a tale-telling sign of the upcoming demise. The fact is they have been comprehensively outplayed in almost every knockout stage game. Needless to say, that is not a trait of European champions.
However, it's hard to point out a reason for the sudden downfall of English clubs—the clubs in England are still spending ridiculous amounts of money on established players, and there seems to be no apparent shortage of talented youngsters either.
Are La Liga and Bundesliga now stronger than the Premier League?
Could it be that the managers in England have run out of ideas?
Even Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson, perhaps the finest managers in the world, now find it difficult to reach the knockout stage. Both teams qualified for the round of 16 this year, but they have been far from convincing in relatively easy groups.
Roberto Mancini has failed to reach the round of 16 for the second year running, even after spending countless millions on squad reinforcements in the summer. The Manchester City owners will probably not tolerate further failures—the Italian's days in Manchester are slowly coming to an end.
Roberto Di Matteo, the man who brought Chelsea their first-ever Champions League trophy, has already been replaced after a stream of poor performances that have brought the Blues on brink of group-stage elimination (as announced by the club's official website).
The one-sided managers' approach to games combined with underperforming players have resulted in poor performances and ultimately brought English football to a record low in recent history.
This poses a question: Can EPL teams truly challenge German and Spanish giants in the Champions League?
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