Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Surely, things can’t be this appalling again. The 2012-13 Champions League campaign was a genuine low point for English teams, accounting for their worst collective outing in Europe’s premier club competition in 17 years.
Chelsea and Manchester City were both drawn in tricky groups, and while the Blues redeemed themselves with an exhilarating run to claim the Europa League crown, the Citizens disappointed with some limp, naïve displays.
Arsenal and Manchester United advanced to the knockout rounds but failed to progress further as hoped. Both received unenviable draws in Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, respectively, but while the Gunners were outdone by their own incompetence and the Red Devils—partly at least—by the referee’s incompetence, neither side will be proud of their European campaigns.
But new seasons bring fresh optimism, and as last season’s four prepare for renewed efforts, an improvement can be expected.
Chelsea will surely improve under the near-inevitable stewardship of Jose Mourinho, while Manchester City would be devilishly unlucky to receive as tough a group stage draw as they've had in the last two seasons.
The competition will surely be a major test for incoming United boss David Moyes, but he will likely have the backing and the squad to take his new club into the latter stages.
As for Arsenal, they may not have been the neutrals' choice to take the final top-four spot, but Gunners fans will be hoping that a slightly less chaotic summer may result in improved form in Europe’s top club competition.