English renaissance in the Champions League?
English teams potential renaissance in the champions league next season
In what promises to be a fun and busy packed football for the English teams in the coming season as the English football for the first time will be presenting five (5) representatives to the European football elite competition, the UEFA Champions League. Chelsea the reigning English champion along with Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United who qualified by beating Ajax in Europa League final will be keeping Queen’s dream alive. Of course, it is noteworthy to mention that it is the first time Arsenal will not be making it to the UCL group stage since the 1997/98 season.
It is also imperative to emphasise that despite the added number of club participants for the English clubs this does not necessarily mean we will see an instant return to the big time for our league’s finest.
Champions Chelsea boast players who have been there and done it all. And manager in Antoine Conte who though have tasted the glory as a Juventus player but nonetheless has yet to savour the moment as a coach, in fact he has a torrid record as a manager, where he along with Juventus was humiliated in 2013 by eventual winner Bayern Munich in the quarter finals losing out 4-0 on aggregate. In the following season he was eliminated in the group stage although he managed a good run to the Europa League semi-final in the same year, 2014. He hopes to subsequently end his prolonged wait for a taste of European glory and having stars like Eden Hazard at this disposal as well as new recruits Morata, Rudiger and Bakayoko without doubt should give him a fighting chance.
VERDICT: TARGET: QF PREDICTION: QF
Tottenham hope to build on their promising campaign in the past season and improve on their overall standard in Europe’s premier competition. Though their most memorable moment in the Champions League was in their tie against Rafa Benitez's Inter Milan side in 2010 with Spurs impressing through a certain Gareth Bale who scored a hat trick he later ran out one of the best right back, Maicon in the second leg where Tottenham won 3-1. They equally hope to build on this times with their ever intelligence manager in Maurice Pochettino who have modelled beauty and talent into the art of football. Poch has got his Tottenham side playing some of the best football in the country if not the best. However, their European failures need to be addressed and with Kane and Ali both just getting better and better this may be the year we see a respectable campaign from the North Londoners.
VERDICT: TARGET: R16 PREDICTION: R16
Pep Guardiola is perhaps the most under pressure out of the top managers to deliver a serious challenge for the Champions League. The Manchester City manager knows what it is like to win the Champions League having won the UCL with Barcelona on multiple occasions and he knows the calibre of player needed, he has most certainly made series of purchases including Bernardo Silva, Danilo, Ederson, Kyle Walker. He also knows how distasteful it was to lose last season from a 5-3 winning position in the first leg to a Radamel Falcao and Kylian Mbappe inspired Monaco team in the second leg and what is needed to improve on that disappointing outing in Monaco last season. With an eye for the league, he will fight to achieve glory in the Champions League as well in a season where a repeat of the trophyless exploits of last season will not be tolerated.
VERDICT: TARGET: WIN PREDICITON: SF
Liverpool and their Champions league experienced manager Jürgen Klopp who previously took Borussia Dortmund to the final showpiece in a losing effort against eventual winner Bayer Munich in an all-German final cannot be ruled out of this conversation either. Not be forgotten as well is the club's rich history in the Champions League which promises to be provide us with a packed stadium with Anfield’s finest roaring their famous ‘you will never walk alone.' Liverpool’s lack of movement in the summer transfer window has left fans frustrated with the pursuit of Naby Keita looking very bleak added to the earlier failure in securing Van Dijk. However, Salah and Robertson have both come through the door. And Liverpool fans will point to their excellent record against the bigger sides as well as their manager’s experience in Europe.
VERDICT: TARGET: QF PREDICTION: R16
Manchester United on the other hand boast one of the competition's best tacticians in Jose Mourinho who after qualifying the team through the back door of the Europa league has been making transfer deals to bridge the gap to the rest of Europe’s elite. He's by no means a pushover in the Europe competition and he wouldn't want that reputation to retrogress so quickly in the coming season. Barely last season, he pulled out some tricks in the Europa league where he qualified the club to the champions league despite the team not been on top of their games, he's equally ready to repeat the same feat in the champions league competition albeit with a more improved squad. Manchester United’s lack of clinical nature cost them in the league last year however fans will be hoping the signing of Romelu Lukaku as well as their good showing in the Europa League last season will give them every chance in their return to the Europe’s elite.
VERDICT: TARGET: QF PREDICTION: QF
Pep, Conte, Jose, Poch and Klopp are some of the best managers in the world. With the Manchester 2 entering their second seasons at their respective clubs and Klopp and Conte having their first crack at the Champions League with their respective clubs accompanied with the youthful Tottenham can expect excitement to say the very least from the English sides next season.