Football evolves, that’s just how the game is. The UEFA Champions League returned to our screens and for British football fans, it seems that English football has become second fiddle to other countries around the continent. Personally, I believe we have been brainwashed commercially with the Premier League being branded as the “best league in the world”- and we are now in fact behind the Bundesliga of Germany and La Liga of Spain.
It took 278 minutes for an English team to score, as Chelsea secured a respectable 1-1 draw in Istanbul against Galatasaray. Before that however, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United all failed to find the net and all lost 2-0 with tough jobs to do in their second legs. The shift of power of football is changing, as City lost to Barcelona and Arsenal lost to Bayern Munich, two of the top four teams in Europe in my opinion with Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid the other two teams.
Think back to 2008, three English clubs reached the semi-finals of the competition. In just 6 years, it seems Premier League clubs are struggling to even reach the quarters. Why is this? How can the tide turn and power shift so dramatically in such a short space of time?
I think it’s down to three factors; Philosophy, Generation and Money. The Spanish have controlled world football since 2008, and this is because of the enforced philosophy put on young players as they progress through the youth ranks. Barcelona implemented this philosophy too and the reward was constant appearances in semi-finals of the Champions League, winning it in 2009 and 2011.
The Germans have had footballing rejuvenation. The current players are al relatively young, especially at Borussia Dortmund. They and Bayern Munich are full of young international players who pretty much spend the whole season together both domestically and internationally which only has benefits. Bayern have become the best team in the world with outrageous fire power going forward and a steady defence.
Madrid have money to burn. After splashing £86 million in the purchase of Gareth Bale; and the employment of Cristiano Ronaldo, who to me is the world’s greatest player makes them a dangerous team. Add Benzema and Di Maria to the mix and you have a lot of attacking menace. Arguably, you could consider PSG as a team who have the money to construct a world class team that on their day can defeat our English elite.
So how can the English teams improve? I think we need more home grown coaches to take on the challenge. We allow too many foreign coaches come in and imply their philosophies, causing havoc to us internationally. People may disagree with me after watching David Moyes’ slow start at Manchester United but look at Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, he has got them playing some fantastic football. Also, a winter break in my eyes is needed. Yes it may create more midweek fixtures pre and post-Christmas, but other countries have a break and that gives their teams a fresh impotence on the second half of the season as well as international tournaments in summer such as this year’s World Cup in Brazil.
So for English football fans, I think it’s time to stop piling pressure on the English teams to do well and just accept that at the moment, we are second best to other country’s top teams.