Which Premier League teams are likely to progress the furtherest in the Champions League
The Champions League round of 16 will be starting in February and 3 English teams have progressed to this stage from the Group Stage. Those teams are Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.
Manchester United crashed out of the competition in spectacular style at the expense of Red Bull Leipzig.
It’s hard to see which of Liverpool or Manchester City are best placed to progress in the competition and if you asked the question what is the best site to bet on football? you’d see a list of sites that couldn’t agree on which of Liverpool or Manchester City are favourites to progress the furtherest.
Man City this season are no longer that attacking juggernaut of last season being the team that scored 102 goals despite finishing 2nd. That goals total was 17 better than Liverpool’s 85 who scored the 2nd most goals last season. However so far this season 6 teams have scored more goals than Manchester City including Leicester and newly promoted Leeds.
Manchester City have now concentrated on improving the defence and so far no team in the Premier League has conceded less goals and no team has more clean sheets. This solidity will be key in the 2 legged affairs where an ability to grind out a result could be the recipe of continued progression. Manchester City’s big squad will be a good safety net for any injuries that may occur which could limit progression.
Manchester City have also had the kindest of draws with Borussia Munchengladbach being their round of 16 opponent. Arguably only Porto and maybe Lazio could have been weaker opponents.
Injuries to key players this season such as Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Thiago Alcantara still haven’t prevented Liverpool from being in top place and although the first 2 mentioned are likely to be out for the season a Liverpool team with a full squad apart from them will still be a difficult opponent for any team.
They certainly have the recent experience winning it in 2018/19 and beaten finalists in 2017/18 and no one should doubt Klopps ability to lead them far into the competition this season.
In perhaps a mirror image of Manchester City Liverpool have been imperious in attack up until the last 3 games where they have been scoreless. They still have scored more goals than any other team but the loss of Van Dijk and Gomez has not only reduced their defensive solidity but the forced move of Fabinho to a centre back has also reduced the screening he gives the centre backs with his ability to tackle and intercept play. That stops attacks before they get to the back 4 and he also covers the fullbacks as they maraud further up the pitch to support and start attacks. 4 teams have conceded less goals at the moment including Arsenal to put their defensive setbacks into context. That includes a 7-2 loss to Aston Villa. An inconsistent defence is not the recipe for Champions League progression.
A round of 16 fixture against the current La Liga leaders isn’t the starting point to think that Chelsea can be the English team that progresses the furtherest in the league. Add in a bit of recent stuttering form and that doesn’t really give you any extra confidence. History isn’t really on their side either with the round of 16 being the furthest they have progressed since 2014/15.
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