English clubs dominance in Champions League is over

Chelsea lost to Basel in their group - courtesy of a Mohamed Salah goal - but made it to the semi-final in 2013/14. Photos:

Chelsea lost to Basel in their group – courtesy of a Mohamed Salah goal – but made it to the semi-final in 2013/14. Photos:

If any doubts that the glory days are over for English clubs in the Champions League still remained, then the group stage of this year’s competition should have seen them well and truly eviscerated.

At no stage has the Premier League had fewer than two teams into the last 16 since the existing format was introduced in 2003-04 yet only Manchester City have booked their place with just one game left to play.

Manchester United’s drab 0-0 draw against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night – the only goalless Champions League fixture at Old Trafford since September 2010 when United played Rangers – was just the latest in a miserable string of results for English teams in Europe’s premier club competition.

In the Champions League between 2003-04 and 2011-12, the most English defeats in a group stage was five.

The four representatives this time round – Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal – have already lost seven between them. While Chelsea, United and Arsenal still have a chance of following City through to the last 16, the aura English teams once had has evaporated as they are overtaken not only by Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona but also the German teams.

Liverpool were the eventual victors, famously beating Milan after coming from 3-0 down in a win dubbed the ‘Miracle of Istanbul.’ They had beaten Chelsea in the semi-final while Arsenal and Manchester United were beaten in the first knockout round.

Arsenal were beaten 2-1 by Barcelona in the final at the Stade de France. They were the only English side to reach the quarter-finals. Liverpool and Chelsea were both beaten in the round of 16 while Manchester United finished bottom in their group, failing to advance.

In a repeat of the 2004-05 final Liverpool again faced Milan but the outcome did not favour the English side this time as they were beaten 2-1 in Athens.

It was a good year all round for the Premier League as Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United made the semi-finals. Arsenal were knocked out by PSV Eindhoven in the round of 16.

Manchester United won an all-Premier League final against Chelsea at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, sealing victory 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in normal time. Liverpool were also semi-finalists after beating Arsenal in the quarter finals.

The Premier League was represented by Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool with three English teams – only the Merseysiders missed out – reaching the semi-finals after suffering only two defeats between them in the entire group stage.

In the final Manchester United lost 2-0 to Barcelona in Rome.

Currently England, Germany and Spain are granted four qualifying places for the Champions League but this is not set in stone. Italy’s Serie A used to get four clubs into the group stages until it was overtaken by the Bundesliga in 2011.

Now there is a realistic scenario whereby Serie A could get its extra spot back by overtaking the Premier League in the next two years.

Champions League places are allocated according to the UEFA Club Coefficient, which gives points for every result a club earns in European competition whether this be Champions League or Europa League, you get points by going deep into a competition.

A country’s co-efficient ranking is divided by the number of clubs it has in Europe (so it would be eight for England and six for Italy). Currently, England has 69.784 points, with Italy barely three points behind with 66.605.

Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea all topped their respective groups while Liverpool fell at the first hurdle. Chelsea were beaten by eventual Champions Inter Milan in the round of 16 while Manchester United and Arsenal both exited at the quarter-final stage.

Manchester United were beaten finalists at Wembley, defeated 3-1 by Barcelona. They were joined in the last eight by Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea while Arsenal were beaten by the eventual Champions in the last 16.

Manchester United
The only way United can guarantee their place in the last 16 is if they beat Wolfsburg away in two weeks’ time.

If United fail to defeat the Germans and PSV beat CSKA at home, United will slip into the Europa League.


Dynamo Kyiv upsetting the odds to win 2-0 away at Porto meant Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv was not enough to gain automatic qualification to the knockout stage. Chelsea can still win the group if they beat Porto at home next month.

If they draw, they will finish second, while a home loss would mean eliminatuon if Kiev beat Maccabi, as they should.


Only one team has ever made the last-16 after gathering just three points from their first four group-stage matches, with Arsenal aiming to become the second.

After beating Dynamo Zagreb 3-0 they have at least given themselves a chance but they have to beat Olympiacos away. They also have to win by two clear goals or win by a one-goal margin with a scoreline of 3-2 or higher.


An unexpected triumph for a Chelsea side who had not shone domestically but beat Bayern Munich on penalties in their own Allianz Arena.

They were the only English side to make the quarter-finals while Arsenal were knocked out in the round of 16. Both Manchester United and Manchester City failed to make it out of their respective groups.


For the first time in the current Champions League format, established in 2003, there was no English side in the last eight, perhaps a sign of things to come.

Arsenal and Manchester United both fell in the round of 16 while Manchester City and Chelsea both failed to make it past the group stage, City without winning a single game.

There was an all Madrid final with Real beating Atletico in Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz and they were joined by Barcelona in the quarter finals.

All four English clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea – made the knockout stages but only Chelsea made it to the semi-final.
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