The Premier league’s misery run at European competitions continued as none of the English teams could manage a victory in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League and makes their job harder for the second leg due in March. Meanwhile all the La Liga outfits recorded wins to stake their claim as the best teams from the best league in Europe.
In the round of 32 matches that fanned out on the 16th,17th, and 18th of February, Chelsea lost 1-2 away to Paris Saint Germain, Manchester United were stunned by Danish Champions Midtjylland in an identical scoreline whereas Liverpool and Tottenham all drew their respective fixtures. For a league which has so much financial clout and viewership all over the world, the team needs to be performing better in the European Cups.
Zlatan Ibrahimović and Edinson Cavani scored to pile misery on Chelsea’s disastrous campaign. John Obi Mikel scored after Zlatan’s free kick to even the contest but under fire Cavani made sure to impress his manager Laurent Blanc by scoring after coming on from the bench.
An already miserable season for Louis Van Gaal and Manchester United took a turn for the worse as they were defeated by a team which was founded just 17 years ago. This is in sharp contrast to United under Sir Alex Ferguson and all the glorious moments they has become accustomed to. It is going to take time for the club to rise from such a dismal state.
On the other hand Liverpool were left frustrated by a resilient Augsburg. Perhaps the Gods were on the side of the Reds as the Bavarians hit the post later on and saved the English outfit some embarrassment. Spurs on the other hand looked the most convincing of the English teams and drew 1-1 with Italian 3rd placed side Fiorentina.
On the other hand their peers from Spain had a better day in office. Real Madrid produced their best away display of the season to win 0-2 away to AS Roma. Valencia thrashed Rapid Vienna 6-0 at the Mestella thus providing much needed respite for under fire manager Gary Neville. This was arguably the best performance by Neville’s outfit and the supporters will be hoping for such performances in the future.
On the other hand Villarreal edged out Napoli 1-0 and Sevilla outclassed Mode 3-0. Basque hitman Aritz Aduriz scored a world class dipping volley to give Athletic Bilbao a 0-1 win over French side Marseille. The saying “Old is Gold” fits perfectly for Aduriz who has only gotten better with age and is without a doubt the best header of the ball in Europe or perhaps world football.
Borussia Dortmund won 2-0 at the Signa Iduna Park against FC Porto continuing Thomas Tuchel’s good run with the club. Fellow German club Wolfsburg edged out Gent 2-3 at Brussels the other night.
The last time a Premier league club won a Champions League was in 2012 courtesy of Chelsea. Since then, these teams haven’t even managed a semi final appearance.
The Premier League is definitely exciting to watch with action packed matches, great competition among all the teams. But in terms of competition among other teams from Europe, English football lags behind. The Barclays Premier League attracts top players from all over the world due to its financial power. But once the players reach a level, most of them get attracted to playing for top clubs like FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, PSG and Juventus.
To keep the tag of being called the best league in the world will need some big performances from the participants. Otherwise more technical leagues like the La Liga and Bundesliga may soon stake claim to being called the best in Europe.