Almost every club from the Barclay’s Premier League has been having a lot of trouble when playing in Europe in the last couple of years. This season it’s the same old story – seven teams started 2014/15 with European football in their schedules, but except Chelsea and Everton, all of the others have encountered various problems. Arsenal lost almost all chances to eliminate Monaco, Manchester City will need something special against Barcelona in the second leg of the Round of 16 matches, Tottenham were eliminated by Fiorentina, Besiktas knocked out Liverpool in the Europa League, while Hull City couldn’t even qualify for the group stage of the Europa League. On the other hand, Everton advanced past Young Boys in the Europa League, while Chelsea finished 1:1 as a guest to Paris Saint-Germain and they have the advantage over the French club, thanks to their away goal.
It’s a bit of a shame that the teams that play in one of the most competitive leagues in the world are in so much trouble. Logic says that if a league is strong, the clubs that play in it are also strong and therefore would be able to compete in Europe. However, the theory that the teams gain experience from the hard and competitive league is a bit false – Bayern Munich is having a walk in the park almost all the time when playing in the Bundesliga, but they’re the biggest favorite to win the UEFA Champions League aren’t they? Real Madrid and Barcelona are kings of La Liga and only Atletico Madrid comes somewhere close. The situation in those leagues is very different than the one in the Premier League, but somehow the clubs from them are a lot more successful in the last couple of years.
The fact that the Barclay’s Premier League is so competitive certainly doesn’t help the teams to be better in the European tournaments, but it’s not the only problem. The most troubling things is the way that the squads from England have been outplayed – Manchester City was just dominated by Barcelona and Arsenal couldn’t find a way to fight back against Monaco. These defeats weren’t the result of a competitive league – they are a result of poor coaching. The Citizens tried to press Barcelona, which is just far more than a strange tactic when you play Messi and company – the players from Barcelona are just waiting for their opponents to misplace a pass so they can work their offensive tactics. Arsenal were thought to be the favorites against Monaco, but again a wrong strategy from Wenger was the reason they were defeated – poor positioning, static play and misplaced passes. The Gunners tried to be aggressive after Chamberlain scored, but their aggression was badly constructed and backfired – Monaco was able to score a third goal. Only Jose Mourinho was able to choose tactics that would actually help his club have advantage over their opponents – the 1:1 result in Paris isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough.
The conclusion from all of this is not that the competitiveness of the Barclay’s Premier League is such a big problem for the clubs that play in it (it’s still a factor), but the way those clubs play in Europe just isn’t good enough. Most teams from England don’t have their own identity and therefore try to overpower opponents by playing their style of game. Almost everybody knows that if a club doesn’t have an identity and good management it won’t go very far – Chelsea and their front office know that and that’s why they have hired Jose Mourinho.