Which English club will you be backing in the UEFA Champions League this year? | inside World Soccer


Which English club will you be backing in the UEFA Champions League this year?

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Last year we saw an all-English final in the Champions League, something we haven’t seen since Manchester United and Chelsea were in their glory days of battling for titles left, right and centre. For those who aren’t aware, this was over 10 years ago in the 2007/08 season. Liverpool defeated Tottenham Hotspur in what could be called one of the easiest Champions League Finals ever won – Liverpool seemed to walk all over Spurs, and for the fans, it was agonisingly painful.

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With the Premier League just kicking off again, we now watch as the top four from last season represent English football in the Champions League this year. The teams who are in the Champions League from the Premier League this season are current champions Manchester City, last year’s winners Liverpool, runners-up Tottenham and previous winners Chelsea.

All are great contenders in Europe and look promising for this season too, but who will you be backing? You can check the live odds on UEFA Champions League winner with the Betfair Exchange to see who, after week one, is looking to claim the title. Can Liverpool do it again? Or will City be putting their wrongs to rights after Spurs knocked them out in the quarter-finals last year?

Liverpool

The first team we look at is Liverpool, the current Champions of Europe. The squad returned from Madrid having beaten Spurs 2-0. Their first goal came within the second minute when Mohamed Salah hammered home a penalty that Moussa Sissoko gave away after handballing in the area. The game remained 1-0 for what felt like an eternity, with Liverpool playing around Spurs and increasingly putting on the pressure. The game was very one-sided and resulted in a late goal from Divock Origi, Spurs were buried with no chance of resurgence.

So what about this year? Liverpool had quite an active transfer window last year after losing the final to Real Madrid, spending a total of £137m. This year they made a profit of £24.42m – their non-spend suggests that they are continuing with the same squad and look to make improvements as the same team as last year. Something to be admired, let’s be honest, there was no contesting Man City and Liverpool last season (who finished 1st and 2nd in the Premier League) – and some people, such as footballing legend Alan Shearer, reckon it’ll be the same this year.

With the static non-change of their dominating squad, will we see Liverpool in a third Champions League final next year or will those who have invested this summer cause an issue for them in their European campaign?

Tottenham Hotspur

We can imagine it’s still painful for some fans to be reminded of that awful night in Madrid. However, it has to be said, that it was incredible for Spurs to reach the final in the first place, not only did they defeat Man City on away goals in the quarter-final, but they did the same to Ajax in the semi-final. A win is a win, yes, but to win on aggregate for the last two rounds heading into the final against Liverpool, should have hinted at their future fate. Spurs may have felt their European campaign was deserved of a final but a lot would suggest they got through by the skin of their teeth. One thing that can be said was that their main man, Harry Kane was not on his best form all of last season, possibly due to his incredible World Cup campaign for England the summer before, or because he missed three months of the season with ligament injuries. Let’s hope he’s back to his scoring ways for the season ahead.

During the summer months, Spurs haven’t spent as much as some fans may have hoped. Totalling a £71.8m spend, Spurs have welcomed players such as Jack Clarke from Leeds, Kion Etete from Notts County, Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham and making up the majority of their spend, signed Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon for £65m. 12 players were released including Kieran Trippier who went to Atlético Madrid.

Manchester City

After storming the Premier League once again last year, City seem ready to take on Europe. Their Champions League campaign ended in misery as they were knocked out by Spurs on away goals. The second leg was an eventful one, with Man City winning 4-3 and there were some great goals on both sides. It was only in the 72nd minute that City let in a sloppy goal from a corner which Fernando Llorente put in the back of the net. Many would say that if City had played that game with the same standard they were performing the Premier League, they would have made the final.

A team that is notoriously known for spending money did not disappoint this season, coming in third in the table of Premier League top spends with a total of £76.7m but how will this benefit the squad? City’s big signing of the summer was Rodri for £63m from Atlético Madrid, the second was with Joao Cancelo joining from Serie A champions Juventus for £58.5m. We have already seen Rodri make an impact on the team for his performance against West Ham United last weekend. We also saw Sterling score four goals (but denied one) to claim his first hat-trick of the season. In an incredible opening game, City won 5-0, showing that their quality of play has not lessened over the summer and if anything should be top contenders for winning both titles at the end of the season.


Chelsea

Possibly one of the biggest wildcards for this year’s Champions League campaign. Last season Chelsea were in the Europa League rather than the Champions League, the last time they were playing top-flight European football was in the 2017/18 season where they were knocked out in the round of 16 by Barcelona. Although they have made the cut this season, they certainly have a lot to work on in order to make the final.

Over the summer the club has the least spend of all Premier League teams, by not spending a penny and actually earning £173.2m – an incredible and jaw-dropping amount at either end of the scale. The reason for this is that Chelsea currently has a transfer embargo set upon them for two-windows, meaning that they couldn’t actually sign any players. The implications were huge as we saw Eden Hazard and David Luiz jump ship this summer. Club legend Frank Lampard now sits at the helm, the fans are confident he will be able to further the squad, but after losing in their first Premier League game of the season to Man United 4-0, we’re not so sure. Did the transfer window leave Chelsea a little too empty to compete in Europe this year?

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