Aston Villa defeat exposes painful truth about Europe’s Premier League clubs

Even the consolation prize might not go to the best league in the world. In other words, it is the most popular and expensive. Despite the ignominious retreat of other English teams from Europe, Aston Villa have long been expected to win the divisional title, as if the competition might develop into Premier League territory.

If Olympiacos had other ideas, the 4-2 win at Villa Park showed that quality teams can be found at the business end of any continental competition and that despite differences in domestic leagues, revenue and personnel It’s a remarkable thing, even in a European knockout round, and they are 90 minutes away from ending England’s poor year in Europe.

On Wednesday, some statistics came out and Dortmund’s win over Paris Saint-Germain means the Bundesliga joins Serie A in fifth place in next season’s Champions League; if one assumes the Premier League will inevitably take that title, then it Already shattered. There are other signs: for the first time since 2012-13, only two English clubs have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League. For the first time since the 2013-14 season, the Premier League failed to reach the semi-finals of either major continental competition.

There are different levels of failure, some are harsh, arrogant and embarrassing, some are understandable and depend on the nuances. Some are limited to one night, others are spread across the continent. The common denominator is elimination: being beaten by seven clubs and, barring a brilliant fightback in Athens next week, facing an eighth. There could be a different kind of Premier League tax for the world’s richest league: the injuries and fatigue caused by its demanding nature could hamper their progress in Europe. But expectations are much higher, with some predicting a sweep of trophies, given the wealth enjoyed by their clubs and envied by the rest of Europe.

Manchester City knocked out of Champions League by Real Madrid (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press.all rights reserved)

If the sweeping conclusion ignores the possibility that Bernardo Silva had kicked a more conventional penalty in the shootout, City might still have made it to the Champions League and become favourites, then the moment Can assume the status of turning point. Penalties can become a theme: for example, the penalty Douglas Luiz conceded against Villa against Olympiacos and the penalty he missed, or the 98th A controversial minute against Newcastle prevented them from beating Paris Saint-Germain in France. Marcus Rashford’s red card against Copenhagen when United were 2-0 up was somewhat unfortunate, although it was the right decision. Mohamed Salah missed a chance away at Atalanta when he could have given Liverpool a 2-0 lead as they tried to make up for a 3-0 deficit.

But overall, the Premier League has performed well below its strength. Manchester United are the main culprit, and apart from Bayern Munich, United look probably the weakest team in the Champions League but they are trying to shore it up. This was arguably their worst ever European campaign. Liverpool were beaten 3-0 by Atalanta at Anfield, recording one of their worst results in the continent’s history. As captain John McGinn said of Villa’s game against Olympiacos: “Everything that could go wrong did.”

Other losses are more excusable. West Ham’s opponent is probably the best team in Europe this season, undefeated Bayer Leverkusen. Newcastle United failed to progress out of the Champions League death group and the teams that advanced are now in contention for the semi-finals. The manner in which Brighton were beaten 4-0 by Roma was humbling, but historically such very different clubs are on a different level. Arsenal came up short in a lackluster loss to Bayern Munich, but they still went to one of Europe’s superpowers. Manchester City could feel that they were the better team in both legs against Real Madrid.

Liverpool knocked out of Europa League by Atalanta (Associated Press)

Yet English teams have barely beaten the best in the Champions League. They defeated second-tier teams such as Sevilla, Porto, PSV and RB Leipzig, but in 12 games against Borussia Dortmund, Bayern, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, they only won once: Newcastle Defeated Mbappe 4-1 and others.

So it’s worth remembering that six of the 12 founding members of the Chinese Super League came from the Premier League. Among them, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur did not even qualify for the European competition this season. The third team, Manchester United, won a single match. They set the tone for the season, with English clubs losing to Copenhagen, Galatasaray, Olympiacos, AEK Athens, Atalanta, Roma, Porto, Bayer Leverkusen, Freiburg, Toulouse, Lens, Lille , Legia Warsaw and United Saint-Gillois, none of whom appear to have been invited to that private party.

But the Chinese Super League is a rebellious act that subverts the principles of competition. Places in the European semi-finals and finals must be earned. Some Premier League clubs may be unlucky. Some people get what they deserve. It’s been a terrible season for England in Europe, though.

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