English Clubs' In Europe This Week - The good, the bad, The ugly
How did English teams fare, and what do they need to do to progress? Matchday 2 saw the following clashes featuring Premier League teams:
Napoli vs. Liverpool
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Barcelona
Hoffenheim vs. Manchester City
Manchester United vs. Valencia
FC Qarabag vs. Arsenal
Chelsea vs. Vidi
Matchday one was mixed overall for the English clubs, with wins for Liverpool and Man United, and losses for Spurs and Man City. Possibly Tottenham vs. Barca was the standout fixture, and it was an opportunity for Messi to come to town at Wembley Stadium.
Arsenal and Chelsea got some comfortable wins vs. FC Qarabag and Vidi respectively, to build on their opening wins prior.
However, matchday two’s results proved to be mixed also.
Liverpool lost narrowly to Napoli, and Messi ran the show for a Spurs defeat.
Manchester City got a late winner in Germany, and their fellow Mancunians scored a bore draw with Valencia.
The Premier League is touted as the best league in the world, though La Liga and maybe Serie A would contest that. It certainly is the richest, and at the top ends possibly the most competitive. CL success is not only a boon to the club in question, but the league overall, and failure only cements the notion that the PL flatters to deceive in terms of its monies and European successes. This could be compounded considering Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have both won the competition before, with Inter, Porto, and Barca, respectively. And with their outstanding pedigree, they need to make a mark in it, since it’s been many years since either of them last won it (2010 and 2011). Failure would be a dent in their reputations, or at minimum stark, considering how well they’ve done in it prior.
That said, it still is only two games, but there still is some work to do, if an English team is to win the CL this season – or at the least make a serious impression in it.
As for the Europa League, it seems Arsenal and Chelsea will qualify readily from their groups, and this is to be expected. However, can they win it? Emery has won it before, notably three in a row with Sevilla. Sarri hasn't won a trophy before, and Chelsea are deemed favourites to win the competition by the bookies. It will be interesting to see how they handle the coming games, and the knockouts should they reach them. Chelsea has won it prior too, in 2013, the season after they won the Champions League.