There have been arguments in the last couple of years which League is the best; the entertaining Spanish LaLiga, fanciful German Bundesliga, or competitive English Premier League.
The English Premier League is currently ranked third according to UEFA Coefficient rating because of the poor performances of clubs representing the league in various European club competitions in recent years.
Before last season’s Europa League success by Manchester United, Chelsea in 2013 were the last club from England to win the Europa League and are still the last team from England to win the UEFA Champions League thanks to their penalty shoot-out triumph over favourites Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in 2012.
In a recent interview, Pep Guardiola who was the former manager of Barcelona and Bayern Munich and current Manchester City boss suggested that the Premier League is nowhere near the La Liga but could close the big gap if English clubs start performing on the continental stage.
“Of course the Premier League is tough, so tough. But I would not say going to the Bernabeu, Camp Nou, Bilbao, Sevilla is easy,” he said.
“Because in the last decade, all the Spanish teams arrive in the Champions League and Europa League. Winning the Europa League — like Sevilla did three times in a row.
“The Premier League will be tough when, this is going to happen with five teams in the Champions League, they can achieve the last rounds. After we can say, ‘That is the toughest league’. We have to make that step.”
Chelsea were the last Premier League team to win the Champions League, in 2012, Bayern Munich in 2013 — and Spain’s big two, Real Madrid and Barca, are the only clubs to have lifted the famous trophy in the last four years.
Two of Madrid’s three triumphs during that span were in all-Spanish finals against their city rivals, Atletico.
“I would like to see an English team win the Champions League,” continued Guardiola. “I am one of the most lucky guys, I won two Champions League finals against Manchester United.
“And I would like to see Liverpool, Chelsea, United, City and Tottenham arrive in quarter-finals, semi-finals, final. That would show that league is top.”
From 2003-2012 one of Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal made it to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League while all the clubs listed above except Arsenal won the title within that time but things have been poor in recent years for the English teams but that could change this season.
The Premier League has a great chance to stamp its authority as the “strongest League” in the world when this season’s Champions League and Europa League start.
Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham, and Manchester City are the clubs representing England in the Champions League this season, the first three clubs have won the title in the past and they will fancy their chances of challenging this season when it starts today.
Arsenal who lost through penalty shootout to Galatasaray in the UEFA Cup in 2000 is one of the clubs representing England in the Europa League this season. They could do a Manchester United if they concentrate on the second tier European club competition.
Which of the English clubs could win the Champions League this season?