After a roaring few years of Premier League dominance in Europe’s most elite competitions where English teams came flying out their blocks, it seems as if someone might have stepped on their tails this time out. Is this the end of their reign already?
The biggest competition in the world. The most awaited event in the world. The fastest growing sport in the world, taken most seriously in England. A game that has become English tradition and culture; embedded in the veins of every British soul, yet one that has never been fully grasped by English teams. Only three Champions league winners and three Europa league winners since the start of the century up to 2018. It was just never meant to be. As Gary Lineker once said, “football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win”, but in this case, it was the Spanish.
However, a competition historically dominated by the Spanish saw a surprising turnover as Premier league teams started gaining confidence and pulled a few strings of their own. Momentum was finally changing as English sides were showing they exist as well and are here to put in a fight for Europe’s most prestigious sporting title.
Premier League talent peaked at an all-time high over the last few years as English teams marked their stamp on the international stage with energy-packed performances, dominating displays and ferocious score lines. Not only by league champions but also by teams such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham. Four of the last five Champions League finals featured at least one English team, with history made in the 2020-21 final, which saw an all-English final in both the Champions League and Europa League finals. Although not having many winners, England’s elite gave the competition something to worry about. For the first time in a very long time, the English were feared. Manchester City rolling over teams with Pep’s Tikki-Takka, Liverpool suffocating oppositions with the Jurgen-press, Chelsea mastering the dark arts of sticking with managers till their honeymoon period was over, Spurs pick-pocketing teams at their ultimate best under Poch and all while getting results and points on the board.
Four British teams in the last five Europa League finals and five British teams in the last five Champions League finals; the Brits were back and the Premier league appeared at its best, until now. Both English and Scottish teams have had bumpy starts on their routes to the final and some punctures, if not immediately fixed, will have British teams failing to make it out of the group stages. Although the campaign has just begun, football games are determined by the finest of margins, and starting slow could see British teams punished if they do not pick up speed quick enough. Even the pit stops have to be flawless now, let alone the drive. A very short-lived love story between English teams and European success has many people confused, even the best of managers, like Antonio Conte and Klopp. Is it simply a bad start, or is it a bittersweet end?
Has the dominance already come to an end?