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UEFA Champions League: Ranking Each EPL Side's Chances

Tom LaneContributor IIIOctober 10, 2016

UEFA Champions League: Ranking Each EPL Side's Chances

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    The Premier League teams massively underachieved in the UEFA Champions League last season. Arsenal and Manchester United made it to the last 16, Chelsea dropped into the Europa League following a group stage exit and Manchester City crashed out without a single win.

    This season, the same four clubs will be competing in the tournament representing the league, with three of the clubs changing their managers.

    Jose Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge, Manuel Pellegrini took over at Manchester City and David Moyes stepped into Alex Ferguson's massive boots to take over at Manchester United. Moyes becomes only the second Manchester United manager to manage in the European Cup in the Champions League era.

    Arsenal continue to be guided by Arsene Wenger, and despite a failure to win the trophy, they will again be part of the Champions League fold.

    The increase in TV money, as well as lucrative sponsorship deals for some of the clubs, means that they will strengthen over the summer and will be looking to improve on the showings of the previous season.

    Can Mourinho repeat Chelsea's 2012 success? Will Pellegrini improve on City's European showings? Will Moyes hit the ground running in his Manchester United debut? Can Arsene Wenger finally tick the Champions League off his list?

    Hopefully, this list will shed some light on the Premier League hopefuls!

Arsenal

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    We start with the team which finished fourth, and clinched a place in the Champions League play-off round with a victory against Newcastle on the final day of last season.

    Arsenal face a qualifier in order to enter the group stage, something which hasn't been too much of a problem for the club in the past.

    Arsenal have played in one Champions League final under Arsene Wenger in 2006 which they lost 2-1 to Barcelona.

    This is disappointing for a side that boasts an unbeaten Premier League season and has had 15 previous attempts to win the tournament.

    In terms of teams most likely to win the tournament from England, Arsenal are the least likely, having finished in the last Champions League place and being beaten in the last 16 in the last three seasons, against Barcelona, AC Milan and Bayern Munich.

    They will be hoping that the new £150 million ground sponsorship deal and the new £170 Million Puma kit sponsorship deal will increase the ability to spend money on better quality players.

    Prediction: Arsenal will improve on last years showing but the quarter-finals will see their journey end.

Chelsea

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    Chelsea finished third last season and picked up the UEFA Europa League trophy in an odd season for the Stamford Bridge club.

    Roberto Di Matteo, who had won the Champions League with Chelsea in May 2012, was sacked and replaced by Rafael Benitez who was booed by Chelsea fans but picked up a European trophy.

    He left the club and that saw the return of Jose Mourinho, who in the last ten years has won the trophy twice.

    Chelsea have been England's most successful club in Europe in the past two seasons winning the Champions League in 2012 and Europa League in 2013. 

    While Mourinho was a success in his first spell at Chelsea, he failed to win the Champions League which is something he now has the chance to rectify. 

    This season though may see him settle in and get used to the new players and mould them into his image. 

    Prediction: Mourinho will certainly get out of the group stage, an improvement on last season for Chelsea and I think he can guide them to the semi-finals but Barcelona or Pep Guardiola may again prove his downfall.

Manchester City

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    Manchester City in Europe in the last two seasons has been a massive underachievement considering the outlay of money from the club's rich owners.

    The club did tough opposition but other than Real Madrid, Manchester City have more financial muscle than anyone they faced.

    The European failure has seen Roberto Mancini replaced by Manuel Pellegrini who has promised a more stylish type of football.

    The Chilean guided Malaga to the quarter-finals last season and was minutes away from a semi-final but two late goals ended their Champions League season.

    With the signings of Jesus Navas and Fernandinho, City have added depth to their squad and should be able to compete in the knockout stages of this years tournament.

    Prediction: They could go far, but given the fact they will be in a lower pot in the Champions League draw, could face a tough group, I expect them to get through as runners-up but the tough run could mean they settle for a last 16 finish.

Manchester United

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    The Premier League champions Manchester United venture into the unknown with a manager who has never managed past the Champions League play-off stage.

    This doesn't make the team any weaker though, with the likes of Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa it is a strong Manchester United team.

    They were unlucky last season, first in drawing Real Madrid and then the refereeing decision which essentially cost them the tie in the last 16 of the tournament.

    The 2011-12 season saw United crash out in the group stage of the competition and I'm sure they will be keen to avoid it in Moyes' first season.

    It will certainly be a big ask for Moyes to guide United to the Champions League in his first season and this may be a period of adjustment in the tournament.

    Prediction: I expect United to ease through the group stages and with an easy draw could find themselves in the quarter-finals but that is all I can see this year. 

Final Thoughts

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    While I believe the Premier League will improve it's overall standing in the Champions League next season, it is difficult to look past the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona, with heavy investment in the likes of Neymar, Gotze and Isco. 

     

    Borussia Dortmund will also hope to be amongst the names in the Champions League hunt despite Gotze's departure with Mkhitarian and Aubameyang signing and the continued development of their young talent.

    It will be more difficult than ever to win the tournament with the rise of German football and the continued success of La Liga.

    The Premier League is far from out of the picture but it may take a little while for the league to return to the previous routine success. 

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