Jason Pettigrove looks at how possible it could be for English teams to be able to achieve a historic European treble.
Whisper it quietly, but it could be another vintage year for English teams in Europe.
There was a time when Spanish sides ruled the roost and no teams in the other top leagues on the continent could get close to the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla.
Chelsea v Manchester City was the second all-English final in three seasons in 2021, and though Manchester United were ultimately unsuccessful in last season’s Europa League final against Villarreal, three out of four finalists in the top European competitions was enough of a nod that English football had come roaring back.
The theme has continued so far in this campaign too.
League Cup – ✅🏆
Premier League – 2️⃣nd
Champions League – Quarter-final (Benfica) 🔴
F.A Cup – Semi-final (Manchester City) 🔵https://t.co/YCyOzhK9SA
— BetVictor (@BetVictor) April 4, 2022
Liverpool (9/4) will fancy their chances of dispatching Benfica before taking out either Villarreal or Bayern Munich, and both Chelsea (10/1) and City (7/4) have enough about them to see off Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid respectively.
There’ll be plenty of twists and turns to come, but don’t rule out yet another all-England epic.
Sevilla, for so long the darlings of the UEFA Cup/Europa League, were put to the sword at the London Stadium.
However, David Moyes has had this side overachieving for the past 18 months, and they really shouldn’t be discounted at this stage.
Leipzig, Atalanta, Braga and Rangers will hold no fears for the Hammers if they get as far as the final.
Barcelona were 9th in the table when Xavi took over. Since then:
– Moved up to 2nd in the league
– Beaten Real Madrid 4-0 at the Bernabeu
– Currently on a 14 game unbeaten run
– Through to the quarter-final in the Europa League
— BetVictor (@BetVictor) April 3, 2022
Leicester City also remain in a decent enough position to make it a unique hat-trick for English clubs, this time in the Europa Conference League.
There are potential tough nuts to crack, such as Roma or Marseille, though Brendan Rodgers will be ensuring his side doesn’t get too complacent against PSV before any thoughts turn to being one tie away from the final.
In all three competitions, it’s easy to see why followers of English teams are getting excited again, notwithstanding the fact that none of them are close to the final at this point.
With the Premier League always so keen to espouse their virtues as the best in the world, having so many of their member clubs still challenging for European honours is something of a validation of the methods employed at the very least.