The Top Three Premier League Clubs Return to the UEFA Champions League

UEFA Champions League

  • They’re all back, the world’s best club cup competition, Anelka, Van der Sar, photographers and tasty green bottle.

It was a mas o menos weekend as Premier League action gave way to FA Cup fifth round ties. There are a few interesting  replays to look forward to as a couple of Premier League clubs remain in the world’s oldest cup competition, but overall a bit lackluster. Before Premier League action resumes this coming weekend, two of the top three Premier League clubs get their European boots on again, with the other English club lacing up the follow week, as the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg ties are approached with anticipation.

For fans of the Champions League, there are some tasty fixtures with a bit of drama thrown in the pot as some old friendships are rekindled. All three English clubs start their respective two leg ties away in the first leg before returning home to finish out the tie. Chelsea old boy Jose Mourinho will host his former love when the Blues visit Inter Milan at the San Siro on the 24th of February. Headed to the San Siro first though will be last year’s finalists Manchester United as former Red Devil and on loan AC Milan midfielder David Beckham emotionally awaits his old club where he spent his best years. Beautiful Passing Gnomes will clash with Portuguese Champions FC Porto, a battle of quick passing, attacking teams, that’s sure to be an open, two leg affair (a’hem, key immature laughter).

But the question I want to pose to readers of EPL Talk is: can an English club win the Champions League this year? More specifically, will they?

Arsenal seem still not quite ready and are lacking an out and out central striker and midfield tough man (although Barcelona won last year’s tournament with the brilliant, fluid, and visionary passing of Xavi and Iniesta), but Chelsea and Manchester United both have squads deep enough, experienced enough and firing on all cylinders with enough quality and top European talent to reach this years final in Madrid.

The scripts have all been written. Former managers and players knocking heads against each other and their former teams (Benzema and Lyon and the opportunity for many more). The return of a once great midfielder to the club and ground that saw him reach International stardom. The chance for Real Madrid to play the final at home as the galácticos again tempt the stars. Brilliant Barcelona and their attempt to repeat as Champions, already one of the greatest club teams in the history of football. And of course, the chance for English clubs to continue their incredibly successful run in the Champions League having reached the Final every year since 2005.

What are your thoughts on the Champions League matches concerning English clubs this year? Will either one of the three consider fielding a weakened side to focus on the close Premier League title race? Can an English club reach and possibly win the Final? If so, which one? Is the Champions League Arsenal’s only realistic chance at silverware this season?

My prediction for the Final: Manchester United 3 – 2 Real Madrid.

17 thoughts on “The Top Three Premier League Clubs Return to the UEFA Champions League”

  1. There’s no club that can compete with Chelsea…especially with Boswinga and Essien coming back
    Can someone please explain why isn’t Chelsea in their “predicted” final?
    Real Madrid and Manchester United with their yeye defense in the final…lmao

  2. Wouldn’t be putting no money on that predicted final myself.

    Having watched Barcelona earlier, it’s a good job they are only playing Stuttgart, they didn’t look anything like the team of a few weeks ago, such was their injury list.

  3. it’ll be nice if we get background context of the writers here…so we readers would have a better understanding whether their writing a piece on merit or their club allegiance is getting in the way

    1. Thanks for the feedback.

      That prediction was a bit tongue in cheek. In all honesty, I don’t see either one of those teams making the final. But could you imagine how epic it would be? The current form of Rooney facing his former teammate Ronaldo who would playing in his first final with Madrid in the Bernabeu!

  4. you’re forcing the “beautiful passing gnomes” thing so hard. i don’t even like arsenal and i have to say it’s really not that funny.

  5. Ah thats why there were no new stories this weekend, only Chelsea were playing out of the ‘big’ 4 & the bloggers didn’t know what to write!

    1. IanCransonsKnees, I disagree. I watched most of the games from Saturday and other than the Southampton versus Portsmouth match, I was bored to tears. There weren’t many story lines worth writing about. Stoke played well against City and I enjoyed that game, but it’s not because the teams were out of the top four that we didn’t write a post on ’em. Besides, the EPL Talk Podcast episode today features a review of the weekend FA Cup matches.

      The Gaffer

      1. I take it you didn’t watch the Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa tie which I would argue was the match of the round. A pretty controversial outcome too as typically the Premier League side get a dodgy decision to score the equaliser and earn the replay.

          1. Try and find Neil Warnock’s after match interview, makes a nice change from Fergie, Rafa & the like pussying out of the controversial comments.

  6. Seems like you were kidding around with this prediction but the matches I want to see most personally are:

    Chelsea vs Inter Milan(this one is happening and I’ve been watching Inter Milan and Chelsea. If Chelsea can come in on top form they have a chance of beating Inter Milan who have been in incredible form this year.. I’m a United fan but this is my most mouth watering match of the group of 16 by far).

    Chelsea vs Barcelona(Last year they were pretty tightly matched but a last gasp goal took it away, this year with Chelsea in better form it’d be mouth watering, I think Chelsea might beat Barcelona too just yesterday I saw Athletico Madrid beat Barcelona)

    Chelsea vs Bayern Munich(Battle of the big powerful men)

    Arsenal vs Fiorentina(Due to the style of player it would be a pretty beautiful game)

    Manchester United vs Real Madrid(In form Ronaldo vs in form Rooney, sign me up)

    Manchester United vs Inter Milan(It’s always interesting seeing Mourinho vs Fergie)

    Manchester United vs Chelsea(My prediction for the final this year. Can you imagine an in form United vs an in form Chelsea? The past few years these matches are generally a goal apart and no more. Different styles of play usually make the match and the way United and Chelsea play creates for a great clash. Of course with all the injuries both squads have its not ideal but hopefully that would be resolved before they faced off).

  7. There is no way that Manchester United will beat AC. Let’s all hope AC Milan win 3-1 in the first leg and then lose 2-1 in the second. Then, Chelsea are going to be in the final. Surely everyone hates them (although I don’t know why) but they are favourites to win the EPL this year and well, let’s face it, when Didier Drogba is mad (because of what happened last year) he is GOOD. Let’s not forget the ultimate dream team FC Barcelona, the other finalist. They have about 60% of the whole entire UEFA team of the year.They won last year… (LUCK IN THE SEMIS), and totally deserved it in the final. My prediction is Chelsea v Barcelona.

    Chelsea 3-3 Barcelona (A.E.T)

    Drogba 18′ Anelka 72′ Lampard 107′
    Ibrahimovic 31′ Messi 44′ 119′

    CMON CHELSEA and oh yah. If you dont like chelsea, press the up button 😀 😀 😀

  8. I could not disagree any more with anyone who feels Chelsea is a legitimate threat. It was just a week ago that Chelsea were ripped to shreads by none other than Louis Saha and…LANDON DONOVAN, with a final scoreline that was extremely kind to Chelsea. It literally should have ended 4-0 Everton. Don’t get me wrong, I am very much enjoying his quick adjustment to the english game, but Landon has quite a bit of work left to do to be considered a legitimate Champions League quality player. If there was one english side I feel confident will not reach the quarterfinals, it is Chelsea. Cashley won’t be around for the remainder of the competition (which leaves the left flank with a large flashing sign reading *ATTACK HERE*), John Terry’s head and Anelka’s form have been absolutely ghastly. They literally need to play the exact same cowardly brand of football that almost unjustly rewarded them in last year’s semifinal in order to beat Jose’s Inter.

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