Champions League Semi Finals Progress Without English Teams
Neither Manchester United nor Arsenal managed to reach the Champions League semi finals, marking the end of a dreadful season of English football in Europe.
After Liverpool failed dismally to make it past the group stages and Chelsea crashed out to Inter in the second round, it was left to the Gunners and the Red Devils to battle Europe’s elite in the most hotly contested trophy in club football.
Both teams were undone by exquisite solo efforts from exceptional players however. Arsenal fell to a dazzling display from Lionel Messi, who capped a brilliant performance with four goals for Barcelona. Manchester United were dumped out of the competition by a super strike from Arjen Robben, who fired Bayern Munich through on away goals in a 4-4 thriller.
In the other quarter final matches, Lyon held on to their first leg lead to beat Bordeaux 3-2 on aggregate, despite Bordeuax winning 1-0 at home on the night. Inter also progressed past CSKA Moscow with a 2-0 aggregate score.
The semi finals will see Inter vs Barcelona and Bayern Munich vs Lyon. It is the first time in seven years that an English club has failed to qualify for the semi finals of the Champions League, possibly ending an era of English dominance in European football.
Certainly over the last two years, three of the last four in the Champions League have been represented by English clubs. The dynamics have shifted somewhat since the credit crunch, with both Liverpool and Manchester United steeped in debt thanks to their American owners. Chelsea have had more managers than Tiger Woods has had mistresses, and Arsenal don’t have the financial clout to secure the big name players they need to be a real threat against the big boys of Europe.
Barcelona look like set to make history if they can be the first team ever to retain the European Cup for a second successive season, swinging the pendulum of dominance very much in Spain’s favour.
Is this the end of English football or is 2010 just a blip? Write us a comment below with your thoughts on the Champions League.