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EPL teams' UCL prospects

  • Published at 11:49 pm September 28th, 2019
UCL
Managers of the four EPL teams - Manchester City's Pep Guardiola, Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp, Tottenham Hotspur's Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea's Frank Lampard

A preview of the four English Premier League teams in the Uefa Champions League

Man City 

The champion started their campaign in mixed form, delivering breathtakingly good performances at home against fellow top six rival Tottenham Hotspur but failing to get all three points despite a dominant performance and falling behind against Norwich City away after an utterly confusing display.

The Norwich tie was riddled with defensive errors in spite of some offensive excellence throughout the match.

With so many injuries to their squad, there are some concerns about the season and if the Citizens will be able to replicate their record breaking seasons from the last two years. 

This is even more important in the Champions League as this is the one competition the Citizens have failed to make a significant impact in over recent years. 

They have yet to reach anything beyond one semi-final in this competition, despite trying for almost a decade. 

Fortunately, the draw has been kind in the UCL group stages and it can be used as a significant part of their rotation in the early seasons.

Some of their fringe and squad players will be given the platform to help them qualify for the knockout stages while hopefully giving manager Pep Guardiola a headache in selection by claiming their opportunities and knocking on the door for more first team opportunities. 

Manchester City are expected to easily qualify and anything below first place in the current group with Dinamo Zagreb, Shahktar Donetsk and UCL debutant Atalanta will be looked as an under achievement. 

They kicked off their campaign earlier this month with a convincing away at Metalist Stadium, in Kharkiv. 

They share the group with Shahktar, Dinamo and Atalanta.

Liverpool 

Six-time UCL winner Liverpool have started the season almost flawlessly in their domestic league, putting in seven wins out of seven, displaying thorough professionalism in the process and looking formidable going forward. 

Although, their first game in the UCL was a loss against Napoli in Naples, most expect Liverpool to still progress in this group and once again go far in this competition. 

They are the current champion and given the draw, they should qualify as one of the two teams in this group. 

There is some debate among the fans as to what Liverpool should prioritize this season, the league or the UCL, but despite this, early in the group stages, no matter what team Liverpool put out, they should have enough in the tank to be in the knock out rounds. 

They share the group with Napoli, Red Bull Salzburg and Genk.

Chelsea 

Last season’s Europa League champion would have been happy when the draw came out but their form has not been encouraging so far this season. 

There are excellent performances from youngsters through their league campaign thus far and they are languishing in sixth following a mixed start to the season. 

Their UCL campaign started off badly with a home loss to Valencia despite dominating most of the match, their immaturity and lack of game management once again was at display and manager Frank Lampard has his work cut out to solve the defensive issues. 

This group is not difficult on paper but given Chelsea’s current predicament and injury list, it could be a challenge to qualify but they do possess enough quality going forward to qualify from this group.

This one is difficult to call and Chelsea fans will have to hope their young manager and team pull through these difficult moments and make their way to the knockout stages.  

They share the group with Ajax, Valencia and Lille. 

Tottenham 

Last year’s finalist have also had a mixed start to the season, displaying great character against City early in the league campaign to hold on for a point. 

They have had losses at home to bottom half teams and have not looked stable defensively so far this season.

This showed in their first game against Olympiakos away when they raced to a 2-0 lead only to be pegged back for a draw. 

Despite this though, it’s still a point away from home and Spurs should qualify for the knockout rounds. 

They share the group with Bayern Munich, Olympiakos and Crvena Zvezda.