It looks like when the Brexit campaign is in full swing there will be at best two British clubs left in Europe, Manchester City and one of Liverpool and Manchester United. It was a British club, Glasgow Celtic, that broke the hegemony of Southern Europe by winning the European Cup in 1967 after which the Northern European clubs, Ajax, Bayern Munich and Liverpool more or less ruled the roost till the great Milan side. More recently the trophy has been divided between Bayern, Barcelona and Real Madrid with the occasional victory by Manchester United and Chelsea, who could usually be relied on to reach the semis. No longer. Chelsea were well beaten over two legs by PSG, Arsenal are all but eliminated.
When Pargie called to discuss betting options, I fancied for value two clubs, PSG and Atletico Madrid. PSG were only narrowly defeated by Barcelona last time whilst Atletico are chasing down Barcelona more effectively than their city rivals Real. I could not make a case for any English club.
It was disrespectful of Pocchetino to the Europa League competition and 3,400 traveling fans to field an under strength Spurs side. Dortmund is not that far to travel and Villa over the weekend not the most formidable of opposition. It could have been a titanic battle aganst two teams second in their league but it proved no test at all for the German outfit. Watching next Manchester United v Liverpool I thought how sterile these two teams European former powerhouses have become. United could once field a midfield of Keane, Beckham, Scholes and Giggs but the present lot were short of class. It’s sometimes forgotten that Liverpool’s domination of the European cup, was considerably assisted by Scottish, Welsh and Irish players not being considered as foreign for the quota system. Again the present team lack the awesome power of their predecessors.
The one postive aspect of all this is the Premier League unlike la Liga, Bundesliga. La Ligue and serie a is not a procession with the champion crowned in March but a livelier broader competition likely to go to the wire. Manchester City, almost certainly our only surviving aspirant in the Champions League, cannot even be assured of qualification next year.