By Tony Alvarez
Following bothManchestersides failure to win in the Champions League last night the English sides involved in the competition (Arsenal,Chelsea,ManchesterCityand Manchester United) record stands at played 6 and won just 1.
There has only been one defeat in these 6 fixtures which shows the English sides are not performing terribly but we are used to all four English sides strolling through the group stages usually at a canter.
The win of course came from Chelsea’s victory at Stamford Bridge over German side Bayern Leverkusen, whilst there have been draws for Arsenal in Dortmund, United away to Benfica and at home to FC Basle and a City draw at home to Napoli with the defeat being suffered my Man City away at Bayern Munich.
But the English clubs poor run in Europe goes deeper than just the Champions League, in the last round of Europa league matches not a single English side won, Championship side Birmingham lost out to Portuguese side Braga, Tottenham could only manage a draw in Greece against PAOK, Stoke could only manage a draw against Dynamo Kiev of the Ukraine and Fulham drew with Dutch club FC Twente.
All together that’s 10 matches and only one English win, its not panic stations for any of the clubs as its only the first round of group games but it does ring alarm bells when we’re used to our clubs being so dominant.
I am aware that some of the clubs were not at full strength and fielded weakened teams either due to injury or just as Europe is not their main priority, Tottenham are the main culprits of this ( I say culprits its not a crime and this is not a dig at Tottenham).
The record could get worse tonight as Chelsea face a very tough trip to the Mestella to face a strong looking Valencia side, those of you unfamiliar with Spanish Football will disregard Valencia as they have continually lost key players over the past few years but this time last week they drew with the mighty Barcelona and were sititng top of La Liga until a weekend defeat at Sevilla.
The club don’t really have any star names but with that comes no egos they are a good squad who work hard for each other, saying that the Chelsea back four will not want to take their eye of striker Soldado for too long as he is in a rich vain of form.
Arsenal face a much easier game on paper as the Greek side Olympiacos visit the Emirates stadium, Olympiacos lost at home to Marseille in their last Champions League fixture and look to be the weakest side Arsenal will face in their group.
Although I thinkChelseamay struggle I can see both sides winning and changing the fortunes of English clubs in the Champions League.
Despite United’s two draws so far I still see them winning their group with ease as no one in their group can worry them and after already visiting Benfica the hardest trip is out of the way.
Before the group stages I would of predicted Man City to progress into the last 16 but having watched both their fixtures I am now unsure, they were hammered by Bayern Munich and the score line could have been a lot worse, although City could have had a penalty early on which would of turned things round, Napoli proved they will be no pushovers and City will have a tough time in Italy and although Villarreal are under achieving they are no whipping boys.
Although I think its odd that English sides have only recorded one win of the last possible 10 in Europe I think its by no means a sign the gap is closing between European minnows and our clubs, a point away to Benfica is not a bad result for United although Basle earning a point at Old Trafford was a shock.
Dortmund are the German champions and Arsenal done well to get a point out there especially considering the turmoil they had been through following the mauling at Old Trafford.
City to be fair have been drawn in the group of death and whilst I expected a win againstNapoliit was no forgone conclusion.
What are your thoughts? Are the rest of Europe catching our teams? What’s behind the lack of English victories in Europe? Will Chelsea and Arsenal make amends for this tonight? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts
If you are on Twitter please follow us @sfts1