Over the past three seasons only one English club has made the semi–finals of the Champions League.
This is surprising when you consider the English league is the richest and arguably overall the strongest league in Europe, can the giants of the English game buck the trend or are we set for yet more mediocrity on the European stage?
Last year, the only hope for English football on the European stage seemed to be Chelsea but a terrible display against a 10-man Paris Saint Germain side made sure they didn’t even reach the quarter finals, with former blues centre back David Luiz scoring the crucial goal to put the French side through.
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Arsenal also went out to French opposition with a horror display in London during a 3-1 loss to Monaco proving too great a gap to breach in the second leg. Manchester City went out to a world class Barcelona side with Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi tearing them to pieces.
Liverpool completed a miserable campaign for the English sides in the Champions League, getting knocked out in the group stage by FC Basel after a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
This season however, the English sides look better equipped to deal with the rigours of European competition with quality additions being made for the serious contenders in European competition this year.
Manchester City in particular have a point to prove on the European stage and now it finally looks like they have a squad capable of doing just that. With the three high profile additions of Nicolas Otamendi, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne to the squad this summer, they have filled the three major gaps in their squad and now their first 11 looks able to compete with the true giants of European football.
Their group will be a challenge with the likes of Juventus and Sevilla looking to cause problems, but they should have more than enough quality to win the group.
Chelsea have been far more understated in the transfer market, with Pedro being their only truly top class addition this summer. After their disappointing opening to the season they have come under a great deal of scrutiny but to underestimate them is a deadly mistake, with the likes of Hazard, Fabregas and Costa in their side they can cause untold problems for any defence, expect them to improve on last year’s round of sixteen showing.
They have once again been handed a relatively kind draw, with trips to Porto and Dynamo Kiev providing potential banana skins, but expect Chelsea to waltz through their group.
Arsenal have not made the impact in the transfer market that so many hoped they would. With names of the calibre of Edinson Cavani and Karim Benzema being linked, the Gunners failed to sign a single outfield player this window, the only club in the top five European leagues to do so.
However the signing of Chelsea legend Petr Cech is certainly a boost and his experience at this level may help the Londoners to finally achieve their potential. With an attack and midfield boasting the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla, the Gunners should not be taken lightly, but without a new striker and a suspect looking back line, they may not have the strength to make it into the latter stages.
Additionally they will likely finish in second place in their group behind Bayern Munich which means a tough round of 16 draw is on the cards.
Manchester United are an interesting case in the Champions League, they have been handed a relatively harmless looking group and should be able to progress, they also have some world class operators in the side, including the likes of Wayne Rooney, David de Gea (probably) and Juan Mata.
However there are doubts over the overall quality of the squad, are players like Daley Blind and Chris Smalling really equipped to take on the likes of Barcelona or Bayern Munich?
They should advance from their group, with CSKA Moscow the only team looking like a threat, and with a kind draw should make it to the quarter finals but there are doubts as to whether they can get past there.