England’s Struggle In Europe

With 2 match days over, none of the 4 English teams have got off to a perfect start. United lost away to PSV, Chelsea lost in Portugal, City was beaten at home by a not-so-confident Juve side and Arsenal got outwitted and outfought by the 2 teams that were considered ‘easy’ when the draw was concluded.

The days when LFC got to 2 finals in 3 years (who can ever forget Istanbul?), Manutd won once and got to 2 other finals, Chelsea won once and almost invariably got to the semis and Arsenal also managed to get to a final in Paris seem to be long gone.
Since Chelsea’s triumph in 2012, no English club has managed to get to the final 4. And we try to analyze why.

1. Physicality of the domestic league

By physicality I don’t strictly mean raw brute force. The energy required to compete week in week out in England can sometimes take a toll on the players. The tempo of the game in England is higher than most European leagues. Many a times its end to end stuff for major portions of the game. You simply cannot say the same about the games that Barca, Madrid or Bayern play domestically.


 2. Competitiveness
 England also boasts of more sides who are closer to the top dogs in terms of quality than Spain, France or Germany. Everton, Swansea, West Ham, Southampton, Spurs, Liverpool and now even Leicester, can all give the top4 teams a real tough test.
That is 7 teams other than the top4. In other words, about 50% of the games that top teams in England play, are ones that could go either way on any given day. That is entertaining for the fans but not so pleasant for the professionals who’ve got to play a highly competitive game at the weekend and follow that up with a crucial CL tie on Tuesday night!


 3. Winter Break
This point is irrelevant for the group stages of the competition but not for knockout rounds. When all the teams in Europe are on a winter break, teams in England prepare themselves for a frantic couple of weeks of fixture pile on. Every December managers moan about it. The fact that domestically the English teams are involved in 2 Cups (League Cup and FAcup) doesn’t help the English cause in Europe either.
More games combined with fewer breaks, it should hardly come as a surprise to people that English teams aren’t as fresh as the other serious challengers.


4. Complacency

Despite all the factors mentioned above one simply cannot overlook the possibility that English teams believe they’re better than they actually are. With all the hysteria around their “most famous league” and the fame that comes with it, it shouldn’t come as a shock if some of the players and managers started believing their own hype.
“PSV? Olympiakos? Monaco? We can beat them, no problem!”


5. None of the above?
Is there no commonality in the reasons for the struggles of the 4 teams? Do all clubs have their own unique reasons for their shortcomings?
Is Manutd struggling simply because they’re currently in transition, still getting comfortable with LVG’s “PHILOSOPHY?”
Arsenal have never REALLY threatened the top sides in Europe apart from their CL final run and the one time they knocked AC Milan out.
Chelsea are going through an awkward season. Too many players struggling. Not a lot of people can make sense of their situation.
Likewise, not a lot of people can make sense of Mancity’s struggles in Europe either. Despite having a squad riddled with talent, they never perform against big teams in Europe! Why? I’ve got no clue.
Let me know what you think about the current CL season and why English clubs haven’t done very well. Am I reading too much into it? Is there something


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