This year’s Champions League and Europa League finalists are all from the English Premier League. Liverpool and Spurs both came back from three goals down in the UCL semi-finals to book a place in the final in Madrid. Arsenal brushed aside Valencia 7-3 on aggregate as Emery showed his experience in the competition. Chelsea toiled to beat a very good Frankfurt side – surely the revelation of the Europa League – on penalties.
For the first time in history, all four finalists for UEFA’s two main continental tournaments will come from the same country.
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England is guaranteed to break a five-year Spanish dominance in the Champions League and will claim the trophy for the first time since 2012. Much has been said of the financial advantage English clubs have due recent TV deals getting more and more lucrative. Until now, they had failed to turn that advantage into results in European competitions.
Finally, they showed up in 2019.
Manchester City, United, Spurs and Liverpool were all present in the Champions League quarter finals, with United and City eliminated at that stage.
Spurs lost their first leg 1-0 against an impressive Ajax side at home before going down 2-0 in the first half of the return leg in Amsterdam, only for Lucas Moura to score a hatrick, completed in the very last minute, to send Pochettino’s men in the final for the first time in their history.
Liverpool also won their semi-final their hard way. After having outplayed Barca for most of the first leg in Spain, they somehow managed to come back with a three goal deficit. Klopp’s men still started the second confidently, taking the game to Barcelona, who struggled to keep up. Liverpool won 4-0, making a joke of the Barcelona defense in the process.
The EPL teams are finally showing their mettle. Their achievements are further highlighted when you consider the Premier League does not allow a winter break and does not re-adjust it’s calendars to help their teams in Europe. Liverpool is still involved in a title challenge and Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea are fighting for a top four position so resting players was not an option for these four teams.
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Next year, we might have five EPL teams in the Champions League and Manchester United in the Europa League, meaning the presence of English teams in the final stages of the European competitions might continue.
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