Will an English Team win the Champions League ever again?
Posted by Aaron C-Reid | Published on March 7, 2016
The highly anticipated Champions League Last 16 second legs start this week, with Chelsea the only English Team playing this week. The Champions League used to be dominated by Premier League teams, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea all being in finals in recent times. But now it seems to be dominated by Spanish and German teams. No English team has been in the Champions League final since Chelsea triumphed in 2012. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich seem to be impossible to beat right now. However, I believe that it can be done. Whether it is this year, next year or in 5 years time English teams will come out on top again. These are the possible candidates, based on recent standings in the Premier League.
Arsenal have never won the Champions League. They lost their only final against Barcelona in 2006 after Jens Lehman was sent off early on. With the “invincibles” long gone Arsenal have never quite replaced iconic players such as Sol Campbell, Patrick Viera or Thierry Henry. On the other hand, the Gunners do have their best squad since then. With world class talent recently added they aren’t too far off where they need to be. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Özil and Petr Cech have all proven to be fantastic acquisitions for the North London side.
Nevertheless, I can’t see Arsenal winning the Champions League in the near future unless they invest now. They need a defensive midfielder, centre-back and a striker if they want to challenge for the big time. They are almost guaranteed a spot in next year’s competition and have to have a good transfer window in the summer. Having not made it past the last 16 in the last 5 years, they are all but set to make it 6 this season, after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Barcelona.
Verdict – Don’t have the mentality or the squad yet.
Chelsea have had a nightmare season thus far. After blitzing the Premier League last year they faltered under Jose Mourinho. After the controversial manager was subsequently sacked the Blues have established some kind of form under Guus Hiddink. They are unbeaten under him and Chelsea have appeared to retrieve what they were missing earlier in the year. They will most likely not make the top four this season so will have to buy some top players. They need to replace John Terry when he goes. As Petr Cech and Didier Drogba have recently left, when Terry goes Chelsea will need to sign leaders. Those 3 players were key components to Chelsea’s previous success and need to be replaced with players that will drive the team to glory. Chelsea seem to always be the best English team in Europe but I can’t see them winning with the squad they have.
Verdict – Won’t win it for another few seasons.
Manchester City have had a hugely disappointing season under Manuel Pellegrini after spending in excess of £150 million. They brought in the likes of Otamendi, Sterling and De Bruyne. With only really De Bruyne setting the world alight, the Blues will be gutted that they couldn’t mount a serious title bid. However, “The Citizens” have secured Pep Guardiola as their next manager. He will take over the reins at the start of next season and will most likely do an overhaul of their expensive squad.
With Yaya Toure set to leave, it will be interesting to see who else come and goes in the summer. With whispers of Paul Pogba coming to the Etihad, many will be hoping that they can secure the services of the French Midfielder. City have been disappointing in Europe in seasons gone by. On the other hand, they are all but through against Dynamo Kiev, after a triumphant victory in Ukraine, coming out on top by 3 goals to 1. Pep Guardiola has won 19 trophies in his short managerial career, two of which being Champions League trophies. Not only this, the Spaniard has also never failed to reach the semi-finals of the European competition. This is immensely impressive. Some may underestimate the force that Guardiola brings to the Premier League. He will bring his managerial prowess and should attract plenty of big names for the Manchester club. I think that Manchester City will be the next Premier League team to be crowned Champions of Europe and it will be under Pep’s tenure.
Verdict – Will win within the next 3 years under Guardiola’s management.
The Red Devils’ domination of Europe seems to be something of the distant past. In reality, it was just 8 years ago that they were last crowned Champions of Europe. United have won Europe’s biggest prize on 3 occasions, a great achievement. Having been knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages the Reds now find themselves in the Europa League. That is realistically the only way I can see them making the Champions League next season. After a dreadful season under van Gaal, many fans are now crying out for a replacement. I just can’t see United getting near the Champions League trophy unless they sack van Gaal and have a huge squad overhaul. Even if they replace him with Jose Mourinho they would still have to go through a transitional phase for a few years. The future is bright for United, with Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial looking to be world class in the future. However, they won’t be getting much glory in the Champions League in the near future.
Verdict – Not a chance in the immediate future.
Some may raise their eyebrows at Tottenham’s inclusion. With Liverpool and Leicester just missing out on this list I feel that Tottenham deserves to be considered. With the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier still developing and Hugo Lloris and Toby Alderweireld being experienced, they have the perfect blend of youth and talent. They are all but guaranteed a top 4 place and need to spend well in the summer if they want to compete in Europe’s biggest competition. Harry Kane seems to have gone from strength to strength under Mauricio Pochettino’s command and will hope to continue improving under the Argentinian’s reign. Having scored 19 league goals, Kane could very well fire Spurs to the league title and has the potential to be one of the best in his position. Pochettino is another key cog in the well-oiled Spurs machine. The high press that he has introduced into the Spurs’ team has worked wonders. Tottenham need to hold onto him if they want to keep growing as a team. I think that the North London side could surprise a few in Europe. They do still need to invest and improve their squad if they want to mix it with the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich. With their new stadium coming it will be hard to find the funds to spend on any talent. Another thing they must be wary of is holding onto their star players after selling Gareth Bale and Luka Modric in prior seasons.
Verdict – Hard to tell but may surprise a few.
There you have it. I think Manchester City will be the next winner of the Champions League from England. Do you agree with my opinions? Tweet your thoughts to our twitter account @FromTStands or my personal account @ReidTheGame.