21 September, 2016 - 11:10

English Clubs Make Noise Over Dominating Europe

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As football fans, we are often prone to over exaggeration especially so early into the season. The old analogy that nothing is won in August and September may be true, but a season can be lost.

Thanks to Manchester United’s victory over Ajax in May’s Europa League final and Liverpool overcoming Hoffenheim in the Champions League qualifying stage, England has five representatives in Europe’s top league and four at least have gotten off to a flyer.

Manchester United played ‘Playstation football’ to overcome Basel 3-0, Chelsea tore apart Azerbaijani champions Qarabag FK, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City stars dismantled Feyenoord in Rotterdam and Tottenham dispelled their Wembley woe with an impressive 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund.

The sole English club not to win, Liverpool, still picked up a useful 2-2 draw at home against Sevilla and despite only being one game in, for the first time in a long while, optimism is high that a team from English shores can go all the way.

Champions League betting odds still place Real Madrid as favourites at 15/4 but Man City, Man United and Chelsea have been instilled as fifth, sixth and seventh favourites respectively.

It is easy to get carried away after a few positive results but the level of opposition must be slightly brought into question.

No disrespect to Qarabag, Basel and even Feyenoord, but anything other than a win for the English sides would have been somewhat of a disappointment with only Liverpool and Tottenham playing universally stiffer opposition.

However, what is encouraging is the ease in which Man City, Man United, Tottenham and Chelsea dispatched their opponents when in years gone by, it would have been no surprise to have witnessed laboured and nervy encounters.

Manchester City appear to finally be adapting to life with Europe’s elite and with supercoach Pep Guardiola at the helm, the Citizens will be expected to go deep in the competition with little to suggest they won’t.

Manchester United also appear back to their Sir Alex Ferguson era best under serial winner Jose Mourinho. The red devils last triumphed in the champions league in 2008 but under the Portuguese stewardship, already look the class of the Premier League.

However, it was Tottenham’s victory over Borussia Dortmund which has given neutrals belief that English football could take the leap and dominate European football in the immediate future.

Two strikes from Harry Kane after Yarmolenko had equalised for Dortmund showed true tenacity and strength in depth at a venue Spurs have been dismal at.

Of course, tougher tests will come for each side, for example Chelsea still have to face Roma and Atletico Madrid in their group whilst Tottenham still have a two-sided affair with Real Madrid to contend with.

However, the adage says you can only beat what is put in front of you and it is even more important to get the job done when expected.

Sterner challengers will follow but so far English clubs have passed the first test with flying colours, now we wait to see whether it was a flash in the pan or the real deal.

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Author: Dmaison

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