This season there isn’t going to be any English clubs in the quarter-finals of Champions League, which is strange given the money they have. In the next couple of sentences I will show you why Premier League clubs are bad in the Champions League.
It has to be said, that this was probably one of the worst seasons in Champions League for English clubs. Liverpool managed to exit in the group stages while, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City went out in the last 16. Not much difference is in Europa League, but at least you could say that clubs aren’t trying that hard in Europa League, because financial rewards aren’t that big. Nevertheless, this was probably one of the worst seasons for English clubs in European competitions.
I will show you the reasons why I believe that Premier League clubs are doing so poorly in European competitions, Champions League especially.
EQUALLY DISTRIBUTED QUALITY
There isn’t much difference between Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool. They are quality sides, but no club is superior. In Germany, Bayern Munich is vastly superior to other teams in the league. In Spain, you have a duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona. You could also say that there is Atletico Madrid, but their success is mostly down to incredible defending. In Italy, Juventus stands out, while at France you have Paris Saint Germain.
What I am trying to say is, that in Premier League you have a lot of very quality teams, but the problem is that no team vastly superior. I remember a while ago, when you had Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal with fixed Champions League qualification. Well those days are gone. Nothing is fixed now. This means that focus is much more on finishing well in the Premier League, than to get success in Champions League.
Its also a problem, because there aren’t any easy games in Premier League. Its not such a big surprise when Burnley manages to beat you, or Crystal Palace manages to get a draw at your stadium. The so called little clubs have became quite big thanks to more equally distributed money from the televisions rights.
What I am saying is that equality has helped make Premier League one of the most interesting leagues in the world, and simultaneously made clubs perform lousier in European competitions, like Champions League.
EXHAUSTING DOMESTIC COMPETITIONS
Premier League has the most difficult fixture of any league. In Premier League, there is no rest. Besides that, there are also two cups. This means, that its practically impossible to win all the trophies in one season, or quadruple. It simply can not be done. Because of this, performances in European competitions usually suffer.
Its not really surprising that Chelsea was 5th in the Premier League when they last won the Champions League. I remember similar thing with Liverpool when they won the Champions League, they were 5th in the Premier League. In recent memory, there was just Manchester United that won the Champions League and Premier League.
I am saying that when an English side will win the Champions League again, they probably won’t win the Premier League in the same year. I believe that in time, Champions League will become a secondary competition for clubs in the Premier League. Money from the new TV deal is proving just that, and this is also the reason why I am predicting that, there won’t be many winners from England in the Champions League or Europa League in the coming seasons.
Premier League has incredible pace. To let that pace, referees usually let a very aggressive kind of football. When there is a foul in European competitions, there isn’t in Premier League. This means that its very different to play in let say Champions League than Premier League.
This is also the reason why I believe that this Barcelona side would not get into the top 4 teams in Premier League, because of the simple fact that Barcelona key players would be injured all the time. That is also the reason why Premier League clubs usually buy players that are tall and strong, and not just fast and technical. This means that when they come to Europe, they can’t rival sides like Barcelona which focus exclusively on speed and technique.
This also means, that Premier League sides have more injuries than teams from other countries. Arsenal really stands out here, as a side that have more speed and technical oriented players, and get constantly punished in Premier League with lots of injuries, which in turn hinders their performances in the Champions League.
I think that equally distributed quality, different refereeing, and exhausting domestic competitions, are the main problems for bad performances of Premier League clubs in Champions League. I doubt that this will change, and I expect that there won’t be a lot of English winners of Champions League in the future. In a way, I expect that Premier League will become self sufficient and the clubs will not really need the money from Champions League, those making the Premier League as the most valuable competition in football.