Like every year the favorites to win the Champions League are Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich as usual. This season there are new favorites to win the esteemed cup. There are still 5 teams from England in the UEFA Champions league.
From the first four games of the Round of 16 matches, Manchester City and Liverpool have almost guaranteed a place in the Quarter-finals with their 4-goals and 5-goals away lead respectively. Also, Tottenham have vital two away goals advantage and a home tie left to qualify for the next match. This week the remaining two teams Manchester United and Chelsea will try to add to the numbers of English team to qualify for the quarter-finals as they both face Spanish teams Sevilla and Barcelona respectively.
Spanish teams have dominated in the European competitions lately as of the past 8 years, 5 have been Spanish teams and the last winner from England were Chelsea in 2012. This season the dominance of Spanish teams may end and a new winner may be crowned from England due to following possible reasons:
This season has seen the weakest Real Madrid side in recent years. Bayern Munich were also in a wreck until treble winning manager, Jupp Heynckes, took charge and somehow steadied the ship. The only major team capable of winning is Barcelona based on form.
But in traditional cup competitions one game of luck, determination and game play can knock anyone out. This season all teams from England are in good form. Out of 5, four teams topped their group. Tottenham topped the Group of death consisting of reigning champions Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.
Liverpool were the second top scorers in the group stage and are currently top of the list. All teams are in rich form to beat any team. Manchester City are blowing teams apart with their intricate play and mastermind of Pep Guardiola. Manchester United have gone off the radar a bit but are still capable of producing memorable moments.
Liverpool have probably the most in-form attacking trio in whole of Europe. Mane, Firmino and Salah can give any defender a run for their money. Tottenham have Harry Kane, Eriksen and Alli to outscore their opponents. Likewise, Manchester City have Aguero, Sane and Sterling, who is having his best season scoring wise.
Similarly, Manchester United and Chelsea have world class attacking talents of Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez to break any defence in Europe. The quality of attack in their ranks can cause any team problems in this season of Champions League.
3 Point to prove
Last season, Tottenham could not qualify from the group consisting of, no disrespect to them, but the likes of Monaco, Bayer Leverkusen. But this season, they qualified from the group of death and topping the group above Real Madrid. This season they have better experience in this competition.
Likewise, Guardiola’s first season in charge of Manchester City was underwhelming but this season, we all know how they are performing. Liverpool have qualified for knockout rounds after many years. Manchester United have winning mentality of Jose Mourinho and are fresh of winning the Europa League.
Chelsea are the current champions of the English Premier League and have Antonio Conte as their manager who is a certified winner wherever he goes. The winning experience helps a lot in this competition as seen in the match between PSG and Real Madrid where PSG the new kid in town was heavily outplayed by their Spanish veterans in this competition.
This can apply to any team. Though the size of stadiums in England may be nowhere near the size of Camp Nou, Santiago Bernabeu or Allianz Arena but the amount of noise created in the stadium is unprecedented.
Stadiums like Anfield, Old Trafford, Wembley can erupt and motivate any team to win. Fans also play an important role as they can cheer the players which act as a factor in the performances of the players. The home form of the teams will be important to qualify for latter stages of the tournaments and the fans will have their work cut out to cheer their teams with utmost noise in the European game nights.