England climbed up the European coefficient ranking into the top three in 2005, which gave the Premier League its status of boasting four Champions League spots.
The top three countries in European football are awarded three automatic qualifying places for the Europe's elite competition and one spot for the qualifying round.
The current top three countries are in order of Spain, Germany and England with Italy just behind. The rankings are calculated by totalling the performance of each league's competing clubs over the past five years.
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It would have seemed unlikely in the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons that England would be in any danger of losing its fourth spot in the future given that three of the four semi-finalists in these Champions League campaigns were Premier league clubs.
However, since this time, English clubs have only achieved moderate success in the Europe, excluding Chelsea's 2012 victory which was widely regarded a fluke.
In the last three seasons, English clubs have only made up two spots in the quarter-finals with Chelsea once reaching the semi-finals. In contrast, Italy's recent form in the competition has seen Juventus reach the final last season and another quarter-final in the past three.
Serie A is undoubtedly the biggest threat to the Premier League's stance in third place in the coefficient table, and with the Old Lady offering competition over the past three years, they have managed to bridge the gap massively and now sit just below.
To make matters worse, this season has seen the resurgence of the Milan clubs and particularly Inter, who have been impressive, sitting joint top with Fiorentina.
The league leaders, alongside Napoli and Roma, have all looked strong this season and likely to pose as genuine competition for Europe's elite.
Since the coefficient ranking is based on the past five years, England's sides have essentially been living off past success. The Premier League have now been underachieving in Europe consistently for nearly four years and with the reemergence of the Milan clubs, and Juventus performing well in Europe, England's top division could soon be overtaken.
This is unless one or two Premier League clubs reach the latter stages of the Champions League which, when considering current European form, does not seem incredibly likely.
With the financial muscle the Premier League boasts in comparison to Serie A, the solution to England's underachievement doesn't seem to be further investment but wiser investment, alongside the realisation that money can only take you so far.
Manchester City are a prime example of this, with more money than most yet less identity and experience. It would be a disaster if the Premier League lost its fourth Champions League spot and an unfair reflection on the talent England's top division possesses, but if the current trajectory of European football bears any reflection, it seems a matter of when rather than if.News Now - Sport News