If it wasn't for Tottenham's progression into the last 16 of the Europa League last Thursday night, with a 3-2 aggregate victory over Dnipro, the Premier League could conceivably be heading into March with the prospect of all their clubs heading out of Europe. In modern times this has been simply unheard of.
With the Premier League heading for one of the most exciting finishes in recent history it appears that European success looks to be put on the back burner for this year as clubs chase the spoils from a wide open domestic competition.
The Champions League has been unkind on both Manchester City and Arsenal as they drew the giants of Barcelona and Bayern Munich and ended up on the wrong end of 2-0 score-lines with little hope of progressing as they head into the away legs next. Both sides can count themselves unlucky as a sending off tipped both games in favour of the opposition and ultimately spoiled what could have been extremely entertaining matches.
In the other two Champions League ties involving English clubs Manchester United produced one of their worst displays in recent memory as they were embarrassed by a 2-0 defeat in Athens to Olympiakos. It could have been much, much worse for United. At least Chelsea managed a goal and a respectable 1-1 draw in the intimidating atmosphere away to Galatasaray. That priceless away goal could prove valuable but Chelsea should be able to progress through to the next round without the need for the away goal ruling.
The Europa League saw mixed fortunes for our clubs involved. Swansea lost 3-1 on aggregate after suffering defeat away to Napoli after a goalless draw at home in the first leg. That left all hopes on Tottenham who fortunately gave Jermain Defoe a perfect send off with a 3-1 home victory, 3-2 on aggregate, over Dnipro. They had to turn round a two goal deficit to do so though.
So what is the problem with our sides in Europe this season? Have they been sidetracked by the battles in the Premier League this year? Or are they all going through periods of change that has impacted their European adventures? Surely the Premier League is just as good as it has been in previous years.
Despite bowing out of the Europa League Swansea are the only side who can feel proud of their European adventure so far.
For those involved in the Champions league they all face some tricky second legs and some face unenviable tasks as they bid to progress any further in the competition. The next games see Arsenal visit Bayern on Tuesday 11th March, whilst the following night Manchester City have the equally unenviable task of visiting the Nou Camp to overturn their own 2-0 deficit.
Time will tell what will happen but I suspect European silverware is out of the question this season for any of our clubs.
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