CLeagueIt’s been a gloomy start to 2014 for English Premier League teams in Europe as only Tottenham achieved what five rivals failed to do – WIN.

Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City all opened the Champions League knockout phase with first-leg losses, while Chelsea drew. Last night, Swansea got knocked out of the Europa League and Spurs overturned a 1-0 deficit against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk to advance to the round of 16.

The question is, what’s wrong with the EPL teams, what could be the reason(s), mental tiredness, too many matches, lack of quality players or tactical deficiencies from the Managers? We can go and on in trying to identify the cause of the problems but is that really suppose to be an excuse?

article-2562356-1B9E35CD00000578-122_634x407Manchester City were very disappointing in their own approach against Barcelona. Truth is, they had no business losing that game, Pellegrini’s tactics failed and the players couldn’t just get themselves fired up to rise up to the occassion.
(Had really felt like spanking the players and the Managers after the game)

_73096823_021206307-1Arsenal on the other hand started brightly against Bayern – Defending Champions. Wenger’s tactical approach had worked perfectly until his GK was sent off and that brought another dimension to the game which gave Bayern the upper hand and a 2-nil result sounded fair on paper but doesn’t look like a good one going into the second leg.
-(Not creating excuses but they can be pardoned).

e516dae1775bcba342f61e4b7f182488_crop_northManchester United were awful, terrible, pathetic, annoying, disgusting, looked like a team in chaos, lacked ideas, lacked creativity, lacked tactical input from the bench and that sorry performance against Olympiacos has been dubbed as their worst outing ever in Europe.
(How can a team set such a record in the 21st century?…AAARRRRRGGGHHHH).

a5fec0eb-9c3c-47fc-b308-a1cda4388a14Chelsea managed to get a draw in Turkey, fair result. Mancini was spot on with his tactics only after 30 minutes. Mourinho’s Blues had started well with Torres getting an early goal and despite not being convincing in their overall display, they will go into the return leg a bit confident especially after getting that crucial away goal.
– (It can be better, learn how to kill the game early boys.)

1393526401723_lc_galleryImage_Football_SSC_Napoli_v_SwaSwansea City put up a spirited display against Rafa Benitez’s Napoli over two legs, goalless draw in Wales and a 3-1 loss in Naples. Monk was playing against a side that’s been managed by the winner of the competition last season with Chelsea.
-(A big lesson learnt, when next they get into Europe, they will be more experienced.)

1393537356426_lc_galleryImage_Football_Tottenham_HotspuTottenham are the ONLY side to have won in Europe in 2014 amongst all English teams, a 3-1 win over Dnipro ensured that they qualified 3-2 on aggregate following a 1-nil loss in the first leg. Tim Sherwood will be very happy with his players, Adebayor was fantastic on the night and the atmosphere was well charged with the departure of Defoe from White Hart Lane.
-(Next Up is Benfica, over two legs, Spurs have a good chance.)

For Arsenal, Manchester City and Swansea, the draws weren’t fair but if we are to avoid not seeing any English side in the last 8 of the Uefa Champions League, they all have to raise their and the coaches all have to be tactically and technically efficient in the return leg.

Halftimeng’s prediction: Read our match-day previews to find out the teams that will likely make it through to the next round from England.

Adeyemi Adesanya
Sports Business Consultant and Football Intermediary; Risk Management & Due Diligence Consultant; Freelance Football writer & Pundit on Radio & TV and Man.Utd Fan

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