premier league sides in europe

The English Premier League is often described a the best football league in the world. So why do English teams seem to be so unsuccessful in the biggest football competition on the planet - The European Champions League?

The first question to ask is, is it true that English teams do not fare well in this prestigious tournament. Yes it is. In the 25 year period we are looking at just 9 places in Champions league finals have been taken by English teams from a possible 50, so only 6% of the possible last two places have been taken by English teams. Only 4 of these 25 final matches have been won by English teams,

The EUFA Champions League started in 1992, replacing the European Cup, it was the same year that the premier League started in England replacing the English First Division. In the 25 years that the Premier League has been in operation, up until the end of the 2016-2017 season, English Premier League sides have won the Champions League just 4 times.

English Champions League Winners

  • Manchester United United beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in 1998-99
  • Liverpool beat Milan on penalties after extra time in 2004-2005
  • Manchester United Chelsea on penalties after extra time in 2007-2008
  • Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties after extra time in 2011-2012

Winners by Country

In the 25 year period covering the English Premier League and the EUFA Champions League, Spanish sides have won the EUFA Champions League 10 times, Spanish sides have also been beaten finalists 6 times!

CountryWinsPercent
Spain 1040%
Italy 520%
England416%
Germany 312%
France14%
Netherlands14%
Portugal14%

6 of the 10 Spanish wins were achieved by one side - Real Madrid, who have never been beaten in a Champions League final, the other 4 Spanish victories were won by Barcelona, so just 2 Spanish sides have won 40% of the Champions League tournaments since the 1992-1993 season. Valencia and Atletico Madrid have both been beaten finalists twice.


Why are Spanish sides dominant?

I don't know! Comparing the quality of sides in La Liga in Spain with the English Premier League is like comparing kippers with custard, but there are some big differences that could explain why Spanish teams do so well in a competition that the English sides seem to struggle in.

- Quality of the leagues

There is little doubt that the quality of the English Premiership as a complete league is far higher than La Liga. There are no easy games in the Premier League and upsets are far more frequent than in the Spanish top division, while many of the games in Spain are little more than training exercises for the top clubs. The injection of TV money in the English top division has meant that even the smallest clubs have a better chance of winning than lower placed Spanish sides.

Spain without doubt has some of the world's best players in its major teams. Ronaldo, Messi, Suarez, Neymar, Iniesta, Griezeman, Bale etc., and it is possible that Barcelona and Real Madrid are of a higher quality than any Premier League side, without them playing each other week after week in the same league we can't really say.

- Winter Break

There is no winter break for English sides, just the opposite in fact. This could be a deciding factor as it is clear that players get burnt out in the Premier League, all athletes need time to rest and recuperate. Most leagues in Europe have a 2 to 3 week break in the winter, maybe it's time for the English leagues to do the same.

- The European way?

Another career ending injury?

Maybe the top Spanish and Italian sides are better at playing in the European style or what I like to call cheating. They are much more proficient at falling over and bullying the referee than their English counterparts. The level of violence used is often far greater than in the Premiership.

Tottenham vs Juventus - not even a foul given! Deliberate attempt to injure Son.

I don't want to see our teams developing these skills, we already have too much play-acting as it is and football turning into a 'sport' like professional wrestling would be enough for me to abandon the game I love and become a fan of bowls.

- The officials

There are 6 officials on the pitch in a Champions League game, yes six! Yet they seem incapable of making correct decisions. Perhaps they are more used to the 'European Way' - cheating?