For the past ten years, there has been an English team in the UEFA Champions League final eight times and during that time football tickets for English clubs in the competition were one of the most wanted. Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have emerged victorious while Liverpool, Manchester United (twice), Chelsea and Arsenal were defeated in the final. Despite the emergence of Barcelona and Lionel Messi, along with the massive spending of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, the English clubs have held their own in Europe. Until now. The draw for the quarter-finals has been made, and there are no English teams left in the competition. The last time this happened was in the 1995-1996 season. Is this the beginning of a decline or merely a blip?
Manchester City are a slightly more curious case. The club is wealthy, and they have some tremendous players, yet they have made no impression in Europe under Roberto Mancini. Two group stage exits are an embarrassing return for a team that boasts the likes of Yaya Toure, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, David Silva, and Samir Nasri. However, City will be a considerable threat in the next decade. Their spending power is unrivalled, and Sheikh Mansour will not tolerate failure for much longer.
There are rumours that a change of manager is on the horizon at the Etihad. Mancini could be replaced by the likes of Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Manuel Pellegrini or Jupp Heynckes. A managerial change could give City the impetus they need to excel in Europe.
Chelsea are another club with plenty of wealth yet a great deal of underperformance on the field. Despite their Champions League success last season, the past few years have been unusual for the club. They have not made an impression on the Premier League for quite a while, and the constant managerial merry-go-round has created instability. In addition, the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard are nearing the end of their career and Didier Drogba has moved on, meaning that Chelsea’s core group of players needs reshaping.
Newspaper reports have suggested that Jose Mourinho is ready to return to Stamford Bridge, having made peace with Roman Abramovich. Mourinho knows Chelsea inside out, having achieved considerable success there from 2004-2007. He would have players such as Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar, Fernando Torres, David Luiz and Ramires at his disposal. If Mourinho returns to Chelsea, there is no doubt they will be a Champions League force.
Next season will see either Arsenal or Tottenham in the Champions League. Neither side looks capable of challenging for the trophy and both have a long way to go before they can be considered quarter-finals material.
There is no doubt the English suffered this season, but do not let that hint at a decline. The Manchester clubs and Chelsea will make a massive impression on the Champions League in the next few seasons, of that there is no doubt. Those who are interested can purchase Champions League final match tickets as the final is taking place at Wembley and this is an event that no football fan would want to miss.