English woes continue in Champions League as Arsenal and Chelsea lose


It was another humbling Champions League evening for the English representatives.

Both Arsenal and Chelsea suffered surprise defeats in the UEFA Champions League last night as English sides have now taken only three points from their first six matches in this season's group stage.

Indeed, Chelsea's 4-0 thumping of lowly Maccabi Tel Aviv a fortnight ago is the only time a Premier League side has not lost to date. The Blues had the opportunity to open up a gap at the top of their group last night but were beaten by an FC Porto side that have sold a number of its top players over the past couple of seasons.

Meanwhile, Arsenal, who were heavy favourites against poor travelling Olympiacos were beaten 3-2 at the Emirates Stadium. This adds to their surprise 2-1 loss at Dinamo Zagreb in the opening round. With their next two games versus Bayern Munich it wouldn't be unrealistic that Arsène Wenger's side will have 0 points after four games.

Manchester City and Manchester United have the opportunity to restore some order in Europe's elite club cup competition this evening.

Manuel Pellegrini's side won four out of four and kept a clean sheet in all of their Premier League matches before they hosted Juventus in the Champions League a fortnight ago. After taking the lead early in the second half they ended up losing 2-1 on home soil to the Italian side who were winless in their own domestic league at the time.

City have since lost back-to-back Premier League games but must go to Germany with some confidence this evening after Borussia Mönchengladbach head coach Lucien Favre resigned 10 days ago. The Foals are now under interim leadership – surely this will spur the Premier League side onto victory?

Manchester United also took the lead in their opening game two weeks ago, but were beaten 2-1 at PSV Eindhoven – the Dutch side themselves selling a few top players in the summer, including Memphis Depay to Old Trafford.

Louis van Gaal's side are growing stronger and stronger domestically, putting in their most confident performance of the season in beating Sunderland 3-0 on Saturday. VfL Wolfsburg won't be an easy opponent for the Red Devils, but it was only one week ago that Robert Lewandowski scored five goals in less than 10 minutes versus the German outfit.

English sides have struggled in Europe over the past couple of seasons since Chelsea lifted the trophy back in 2012, with no side reaching the quarter-finals the following season or last season (Chelsea did reach the semi-finals in 2013-14).

The Premier League is now at risk of losing its fourth Champions League spot to Italy's Serie A for the 2017-18 season if similar performances and results continue this season.

It's a far cry from 2005 when Liverpool famously came from behind to upset AC Milan in the final, and then at least one English side would be present in the final for the six of the following seven seasons (with the 2007-08 final being Manchester United versus Chelsea).

For the past three seasons, no English side has looked close to stopping the winners – Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Those three sides are the clear favourites to lift the trophy this season too and no one has yet to put a good argument together about any English side stopping them.

In the early stages of this season, Premier League sides have already tasted defeats to unfancied teams in the Croatian First Football League (16th in the UEFA Coefficient), Greek Superleague (14th), Dutch Eredivisie (10th), Portuguese Primeira Liga (5th) and Italian Serie A (4th).

It seems that being the richest and most popular league in the world is not having a positive impact on Premier League sides in Europe. Despite some of the massive sums spent over the past couple of sides by all four teams representing England this season, they are being beaten by sides with transfer spending and wage bills just a fraction of what Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have.

Pressure is with Manchester City and Manchester United tonight to pick up three points and restore some order to the country that invented football.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch