Five reasons an English club can win the Champions League this season
Holly Thackeray | 24 November 2016
English club special odds for Champions League outright
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Taking this patriotic punt means you’ve got four chances rolled into one at a fantastic price of 4/1 for any of England’s Premier League representatives to strike gold in the CL.
All of Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Leicester City are still battling away in the group stages of the competition with two more matchweeks to go, but look in good shape.
The Gunners and Foxes are both flying high in pole position of their groups, while second spot Man City are going toe-to-toe with Barcelona to be top of their pool pile and Spurs are also competing to make it through to the knockout stages.
It may be almost five years since an English side won or competed in a CL final, with Chelsea taking the honours then in 2012, but we reckon it could be the PL’s time to shine again.
So, ahead of an important week of European action, we’ve come up with five reasons an English team can win the Champions League this campaign…
The Premier League is most competitive
It’s debatable but the Premier League has bragging rights to claim that not only is it the best and most-watched top-flight football division in the world, but also the most competitive.
At the moment there’s only three points between first and fifth position in the Premier League standings, with the feeling after Leicester’s historic win last term that any of five or six sides could take the silverware.
It’s a cliche but there really are no easy games, with TV money meaning even the likes of recently promoted Burnley are making a good go of it and posing elite teams plenty of trouble, while clubs such as Middlesbrough can attract players of the calibre of Victor Valdes.
While this means that PL representatives in the CL rarely have much of a respite, it also ensures that top English clubs are kept competitive and don’t suffer from a sudden upturn in quality of opposition. Arsenal and co are used to facing some of the world’s best week in week out so should be finely tuned outfits when on European adventures.
Arsenal’s time must come eventually
Football tends to by cyclical, with teams from certain nations dominating for brief slots of time. This is illustrated by the fact that five of the last six Champions League finalists and all of the past three winners have hailed from Spain.
Before Spain it was Germany, as Bundesliga sides Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund battled in the 2013 final. But, if you go back a little further, at least one English team contested the showpiece finale in all but one of eight between 2005-2012.
And, if any English side is most ravenous for a major trophy it must be Arsenal, for whom it has been a decade since they last appeared in a European final, when they were edged by Barca.
Arsene Wenger will likely be winding down his illustrious career soon but still needs to add this title to his trophy cabinet.
But, while it is all good and well to highlight that is should be the Londoners’ turn now, what really stands them in good stead is that Wenger has slowly but surely been assembling all the right components. Big bucks were spent on genuine superstars Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who both have experience of winning major trophies.
While, the Gunners have also begun to fix long-standing problem positions, with the additions of top draw goalie Petr Cech, classy centre back Shkodran Mustafi and defensive shield Granit Xhaka over the past few transfer windows.
Manchester City guided by Guardiola
Man City have been dubbed the team with the Champions League curse – but if anyone can help them break it, it is serial winner Pep Guardiola.
The coach has won almost everything in football, including two CL titles, and it looks so far so good for his work at the Etihad, with the Catalan knowing what it takes to win on the continent.
The Sky Blues were drawn in yet another tough group this term, but showed bite and talent to fight back and beat the mighty Barcelona 3-1 after falling at the Nou Camp despite a decent showing.
With Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Sergio Aguero in their ranks, there is more than enough in their armory to ruffle the feathers of any opposition.
Leicester City in luck
As well as the superstar-studded sides of Arsenal and Man City, England also have the crucial underdog market covered. Leicester may not be the force they were in the league last term, but the Foxes’ fairytale has continued in Europe.
Adapting to new territory with ease, Claudio Ranieri has his men top of the Group G standings and three points clear with only six still to fight for. Can their incredible journey end in success? You wouldn’t rule it out.
Leicester have been enjoying the rub of the green but don’t let that take away from their triumphs, with defeats of Porto, FC Copenhagen and Club Brugge impressive scalps for the newcomers so far.
Tottenham could surprise
Finally, Spurs are still scrapping with Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen to escape the group stage but, if they do progress, Tottenham fans can take comfort from the fact their players will have plenty of rest.
Just like Leicester, the Londoners aren’t fighting on as many fronts as bigger clubs, and could use this to their advantage should they reach the business end. Out of the EFL Cup and with the FA Cup yet to get underway for elite teams, the relatively light schedules of these English underdogs could make for intrigue.
So, snap up those 4/1 odds for an English club to win the CL this season before they shorten!
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