As the Prem has finally completed their financial domination of Euroope, their eyes turned to the Champions League. The English clubs all had a chance to put one foot into the quarters. Instead, all the teams failed to pick up a win.
With the charges leveled against City, Chelsea’s spending and United’s ownership change, England’s top sides have occupied the newscape. The Champions League was supposed to be the platform by which the Prem could display their dominance.
However, none of the English sides picked up a win with a few of them being thoroughly embarrassed. Chelsea and Liverpool faced tougher sides, but failed to even show up. While Tottenham and City flopped against sides they would have been favored over.
There are no nights like Champions League nights where all the magic of soccer can fully be lived. As these Prem clubs learned, no amount of financial domination can guarantee anything in soccer.
Like the US congress when they see their defense budget, Chelsea spent so much on things they don’t need. Potter threw out all his new toys only for Dortmund to counter them and leave deserved winners.
A lot of credit should go to Edin Terzić, as the Dortmund manager encouraged his side to go at Chelsea despite the supposed talent gap. Especially in the first half, Dortmund were the attacking side, pressing back the London side. Karim Adeyemi’s silky run gave the Germans their lead and they never seemed like they would relinquish it.
There is so much to be concerned with if you’re a Chelsea fan, but it has to start with the attack. There isn’t a team in Europe that is begging for a clinical finisher like the Blues. While Potter does deserve his share of the blame, there isn’t a single player on this team that could score 10+ goals.
Mudryk’s mixtapes looked like And1’s best mixtapes, but Potter has yet to find a way to allow the Ukrainian to be fully free. João Félix has had his moments, but to truly let him be effective, he needs to play alongside a striker. It’s also not a problem of a lack of creativity in the midfield as Enzo Fernandez played some dangerous passes against a tough Dortmund midfield.
All this leads back to the firing of Tuchel and appointment of Potter. Was it really necessary to get rid of Tuchel given how much Potter has struggled?
Tottenham just seemed to Tottenham against a really poor Milan side. It was a pretty balanced game, but was ultimately a match between two mid sides.
If this was the Milan of last season, Tottenham could be forgiven for struggling, but this is a relatively bad team. This season has been one of nightmares for the Serie A champs, as their backline has completely collapsed. Injuries have left their midfield and forward lines bare with not a single player notching double digit goals.
Spurs’ struggles this year have been well documented, as the Conte project is slowly falling apart. There is absolutely no consistency with this side yo-yoing between beating a tough Fulham team only to get demolished by Leicester. Conte’s backlines have been so poorly constructed that even a struggling Milan side can score.
Antonio Conte is a fantastic manager who can lift any side, but he hasn’t won a European knockout stage round in close to a decade. It seems that if they can’t overturn this result, it’s curtains for Conte.
City have nothing else left to conquer but the Champions League. Pep’s side has placed all their focus on this competition even as they’re falling backwards into a title race.
While City will rue their missed chances, that shouldn’t take away from the great play of Leipzig. The Germans were able to withstand most of what the English threw at them and counter. Gvardiol’s performance was mouthwatering and he is destined to move to a bigger club soon.
The Citizens, under Pep, have been a side that is professional in the way they kill off an opponent. They weren’t and relaxed after Mahrez’s goal which gave the Germans a chance. In a continuation of a worrying trend, the Citizens’ backline looked weak.
To be perfectly honest, City should be fine and get a good win in Germany. However, this performance should give their fans some cause for concern for a deeper run.
Losing to Real Madrid is nothing to be ashamed of, but getting embarrassed at home after leading, yikes. In a season of pain, this loss has to be the fatal stab.
When Darwin Nunez beautifully guided the lead in, Liverpool sent Anfield into a frenzy. Salah would add another after a Courtois blunder and Klopp’s men seemed destined to defeat their foes. Then it all came apart.
Liverpool’s makeshift midfield seemed slow as rocks even against the ancient Modrić, as he carved their side apart. Vinícius Jr announced himself once more and he is finally becoming the star so many people believed he’d be. There’s also the mercurial Benzema, calming down the Madrid side and leading them to the win.
So much went wrong for Liverpool, starting with Alisson as the normally solid Brazilian looked lost. The defense also looked to have regressed with Konaté’s absence being strongly felt with van Dijk clearly needing a solid partner. Also, it should be mentioned that Alexander-Arnold has suffered a shocking regression that is eerily similar to Dele Alli’s.
Unless some god comes down and delivers a miracle, Liverpool’s season is fully cooked. The end of an era is finally here no matter what Liverpool fans may think.
The Prem’s immense riches make them the envy of Europe, as the rest of the continent struggles with financial stability. However, like PSG, those riches haven’t translated to a total stranglehold on the world’s club greatest competition. Maybe this proves that sports is the ultimate equalizer or perhaps this will just embolden Prem sides to continue spending.
Featured image: ESPN