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Are Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea just too good for the rest of Europe?



Last year, when three of the ‘Big Four’ from the Premier League safely negotiated their way to the semi-finals of the Champions League, the English press drove itself silly trying to get the country to pat itself on the back for the greatness of English football. Here were England’s finest conquering all before them – surely more proof that the Premier League was the best league in the world?

Hogwash. The Champions League is hardly an indicator of the quality of the domestic leagues (even though the level of competition in the Premier League is quite high this season) – it is simply an indicator of how well teams can adapt to playing tactical football in two-legged knockout rounds.

This year, as last year, people are waiting with baited breath to see if two English teams will be paired up against each other in the quarter finals. Last season they avoided each other till the semis, before logistics forced Chelsea and Liverpool to pair up in yet another cup encounter and England had only one representative in the final (3 years running, surely we’ll hear about 4 times, 4 times finalists from the English press by May?).

Will Arsenal meet Manchester United? Will Liverpool meet Chelsea? Does it mean anything?

The Last 8:

  • Arsenal
  • Barcelona
  • Chelsea
  • Fenerbahce
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester United
  • Roma
  • Schalke

The first thing you notice in this list is the lack of Italians and Spaniards – Inter will (probably) be knocked out by Liverpool, Milan are already out courtesy of Arsenal and with due respect to Roma, they will not *scare* the English teams. Sevilla and Real Madrid lost at home, which leaves a Messi-less and misfiring Barcelona to contend with. And again, with due respect, Fener and Schalke don’t have anyone shaking in their boots, although a quarter-final game between those two will produce one very interesting semi final 🙂

There’s a good chance a Premier League will be contesting the Champions League final in May 2008 at Moscow. Maybe even two, if they can keep United and Arsenal apart long enough 😉

But does it say anything about the Premier League itself? Hardly.