Match-Day Musings: “Should the EPL be worried?”

All of the English Premier League teams are now out of the UEFA Champions League, and it is only the quarterfinals. Four EPL teams entered the competition (Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Manchester City) and all of them were knocked out in the Group Stage or the Round of 16. Manchester City and Chelsea were knocked out in the group stage, with City ending up last place in “the group of death” (Group D with Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Ajax, and City) and Chelsea falling behind Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk in Group E. Manchester United and Arsenal qualified for the Round of 16, but both crashed out of the competition with United losing 3-2 on aggregate to Real Madrid and Arsenal getting knocked out (via the away goal rule) to Bayern Munich. The Premier League is widely considered to be the best league in the world, but now they could lose that status since they are already out of the Champions League. This brings up the questions “Are the Premier League teams becoming worse?” and “Will Premier League teams do well in the Champions League anymore?”.

No, the Premier League teams are not becoming worse, but teams in other countries are narrowing the gap. Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus are in peak form and rivaling or exceeding teams like Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal who were the best teams in the world a decade ago. Also, managers like Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have built up squads outside the Premier League that have all gone to dominate the global stage. Most of the teams in the Premier League also don’t have the financial backing like some of the teams outside of the United Kingdom like Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

The Premier League teams will still play a major part in the Champions League and will still to win the competition. Out of the last eight seasons, Premier League teams have appeared in seven Champions League finals and won three of them. That stat shows their dominance in most competitive club competition in the world, and in my view there is a small gap (in skill level) between teams like Barcelona, Bayern Munich and the top sides in the Premier League, but it is nothing that the Premier League sides can’t overcome.

To conclude, the top Premier League sides should not be too worried after one poor showing and rather stay focused on the Premier League, and qualifying for and improving in next year’s Champions League.

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