In the past few years since Chelsea won the Champions League on penalties against Bayern Munich, the English teams seem to have declined sufficiently. For instance the very next season, holders Chelsea failed to progress from their group and I cannot recall another champion doing that in my lifetime. Their disappointment might have slightly been saved after they won the Europa league but still the question about decline is there.
Chelsea have been our best hope in the past five years. Since the return of Jose Mourinho they have improved a lot, well it did seem like that.
In his first season back, their run to the semis was pretty impressive, especially the way they came back to knock out PSG, which we all know was reversed last season.
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Unfortunately I think they are going backwards at the moment. Their league form has been nothing short of poor. They defeated a Maccabi side the way they should have, so I think it is too early to say that they have turned it around. But there were glimpses of what have been missing.
Perhaps a lack of confidence is playing a big part? Certainly Eden Hazard is short of it after his poor spot kick. Chelsea's side is strong definitely, and I still think if they hit their form they will be alongside City at the top of the league but the question is, are they better than the other clubs?
Manchester City are a team, who of late, do so well domestically and then struggle in Europe, a bit like Juventus, until their superb showing last season.
With players like Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Raheem Sterling and now the addition of Kevin De Bruyne, they should be aiming for a much better showing this year.
Their side is strong when it comes to the Premier League; I think in Aguero they have the best out and out striker in the world but their depth isn't there.
Players like Wilfried Bony, Gael Clichy, Eliaquim Mangala are not going to be able to compete in big games against Barcelona, Bayern Munich, etc and against Juventus they were taught a lesson.
Do I think they will this year? No, I would be surprised if they escaped their group because I think Sevilla will have too much for them as well.
Arsenal are a good side. As much as I don't want to say it, I think their defeat to Zagreb was a fluke result and down to Olivier Giroud's stupidity. If Arsene had bought a world class striker, I would probably say they have a decent chance of winning the Champions league.
With Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey they have two talisman and with a player like Karim Benzema up front, they would be challengers. But at the moment I think they will escape their group in second and march on to the quarter finals.
Manchester United are making their return after their absence. They performed well against PSV but were undone by clinical finishing. I do think United will progress but are they good enough to win this year? I would say not, and this is the worry because as an Englishman having to admit your teams aren't good enough is hard to take.
As a Chelsea fan it was brilliant to see us win the Champions league but I don't foresee that happening this year but what I am going to do is make a prediction.
Team to beat
I think Barcelona will be the first team to retain the title, I think that is Messi and Suarez continue the way they have been doing then nobody will stop them. I do think that we shouldn't look past Real or Bayern either but Barcelona for me with Messi grabbing the golden boot.
Why do you believe English teams have struggled in the Champions League in recent seasons? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below.
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