Arsenal continue to flatter to deceive. For much of the current campaign they have dressed themselves up as a legitimate force… with goals from all positions, with an elite-level playmaker who bucked a seemingly long-standing frugal transfer window trend in N5, with a stringent defence and a fast emerging box-to-box midfielder who could give Steven Gerrard and Yaya Toure a run for their money.
However, the goals refused to arrive in the big games, that top class chance creator - Mesut Ozil - returned inconsistent performances, the defence became porous when faced against trophy rivals and the rampaging midfielder - Aaron Ramsey - was the latest victim in a long line of injury sufferers who struggled to cope with an oft-criticised training/fitness/recovery program at London Colney.
Arsenal gunned for a long-elusive Premier League crown yet were knocked out of the title race by Chelsea, who themselves have hit a run of poor form having lost four of their last six away games.
Their manager, Jose Mourinho, a superior tactician to Arsene Wenger (who is one-dimensional due to setting his team up one way only regardless of opposition), has seemingly cracked as he blamed his defenders for the 3-1 loss to Paris Saint Germain.
The Portuguese has very much pointed the finger unbeknownst that he points four back at himself… 1: it was he who set that team up, 2: it was he who elected to start no recognised striker, 3: he has publicly chastised his lack of quality striking options thereby ruining the confidence of the ones he does have and 4: the one proven goal-scorer he had - Romelu Lukaku - he sent away to Everton after seemingly judging him from one penalty miss in the 2013 UEFA Super Cup spot kick showdown.
On paper, Manchester City have a squad that should be the envy or Europe. In Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo they have a terrific, classic, little and large partnership with each component a prolific hitman. Toure remains a consistent performer at the highest level but, despite their riches and despite their collective talent, they still have weaknesses at the back - compounded when Vincent Kompany is injured.
As for the long-standing pin-up team of the Premier League - Manchester United - well, what can be said that hasn't already been? In David Moyes they have a manager as tactically flawed as Wenger with a fitness and injury problem to match, yet unlike Arsenal they have a boss who seems out of his depth at the highest level. Outside of attack their squad is weak compared to past rosters and if it weren't for their outright player of the season - David de Gea - their troubles could have been much worse.
These criticisms may seem unfair as these sides, perhaps United excluded, have enthralled Premier League audiences on a consistent basis but they have all, perhaps United excluded, been found out on the grandest of stages: Arsenal in the group stage of the Champions League (failing to top their table), Chelsea versus Paris Saint Germain, Manchester City against Barcelona and we'll wait and see the Red Devil fate.
We are continually fed spiel that the Premier League is the best in the world. That depends on your definition… La Liga has the top players in world football and the Bundesliga has the reigning European champions, however, what the English division has going for it is it's three-way competitiveness at the head of the charts.
While Arsenal and City have already been eliminated in the Champions League and Chelsea received a humbling in France on Wednesday, United have a tough ask to a: get a goal and b: preserve that edge in Germany when they attempt to engineer a way past the football machine that is Bayern Munich.
There is, though, one team who may not be as humbled or as beatable as Arsenal, City, Chelsea and United when it comes to European competition.
One team that has the potential to raise the English flag back to prominence like Chelsea and Roberto di Matteo in 2011 and Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson in 2008.
This team have one of the consensus top three players in world football, they have one of the shrewdest tacticians and man motivators in British football and they are continually producing some of the most exciting football in Europe during the pressure-filled business end of the season.
That team is Liverpool, a virtual lock for a passage into the Champions League next term, inspired by the undeniably exquisite leadership skills of captain Steven Gerrard, pushed on by the meticulous training ground and dugout methods of Brendan Rodgers and given a title-chasing confidence that a goal-hungry talent like Luis Suarez can bring.
Yes, the failings of the current Premier League representatives in Europe have shown that English football may well be vastly over-rated, however, are Liverpool the future?