This season’s Champions League has been an historic one as it’s the first time in history that five English clubs have competed.
Any rumours of England losing one of their automatic Champions League spots have surely been swept aside following the sublime performances displayed by all the top flight representatives.
Ahead of their adventure into the last 16 next week, we evaluate why each club may or may not be crowned champions of Europe for 2018, including a percentage of how likely they are to go all the way.
Having been the last British side to reach the holy grail, the Blues were the team not to top their Champions League group. They were, however, drawn in many pundits’ eyes the toughest group. They overcame the 2014 and 2016 finalists Atletico Madrid but fell short to Roma on their way to the knockout stage.
Both Gary Cahill and David Luiz played in Chelsea successful 2012 finale in Munich while Pedro has won the tournament multiple times with Barcelona as has Cesc Fabregas. This experience is a definite advantage over their English counterparts. They also possess possibly the most valuable player in Europe at the moment in Belgian skipper Eden Hazard.
However, with back-to-back losses to Bournemouth and Watford respectively, Antonio Conte’s days look numbered at the club and Luis Enrique is the bookies’ favourite to take on the job should the Italian be shown the door.
The club have unfortunately displayed a lot of defensive frailties throughout the season and will need to eradicate these before February 20.
Chances of winning: 40%
So far Liverpool have been having a rather bipolar season. One minute they end Manchester City’s unbeaten run, the next they lose to Swansea. In Europe, however, they are are one of just two English sides to remain unbeaten. Despite this impressive feat, they did throw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla.
At their best no defence can cope with Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Getting goals is not their problem, however, it’s stopping them going in at the other end.
Despite this, Liverpool are at their best in the bug games, and every Champions League tie is a big game.
Having been eliminated from the FA Cup and Carabao Cup, the Champions League is the club’s only chance of obtaining any silverware in 2018.
Despite their obvious defensive flaws, due to their high energy and excellent creativity, we give the Reds a fifty-fifty chance of victory.
Chances of winning: 50%
3. Manchester United
Having cruised through so far, United face off against Seville in what promises to be a tricky encounter for Jose Mourinho’s men. This time out, however, they will have the services of Alexis Sanchez.
Having clinched the title under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, Sanchez could be the the secret weapon to Guardiola’s biggest rival winning his third Champions League title.
With the world’s best goalkeeper, David De Gea, also at his disposal and probably one of the deepest squads in the tournament, the Red Devils could be European champions come May.
Having been so close with both Chelsea and Real Madrid, Mourinho will be desperate to become the first manager in history to win the Champions League with three different clubs, having done so at Porto and Inter Milan.
Having openly conceded the Premier League title to the blue side of Manchester, Mourinho knows what it takes to clinch Europe’s top accolade. He’ll feel that a Champions League win would probably take a lot of the shine away from City’s phenomenal title charge.
With the added firepower of Sanchez and the the tactical awareness of the special one, we give United a solid chance of prevailing.
Chances of winning: 75%
Having been the most underrated of the English clubs, Spurs have probably impressed the most. Losing out to Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco last year, they incredibly triumphed over Real Madrid in Wembley before taking top spot in their group. Like Chelsea, Spurs will be underdogs heading into the knockout stage. They face Italian champions Juventus in what promises to be one of the finest matchups of this round.
In Harry Kane the north Londoners have undoubtedly the most consistent striker in world football. Dele Alli has also attracted the attention of many of Europe’s big spenders.
Spurs are defensively solid and exciting going forward so there really is no reason why the Champions League could not come to north London for the first time ever this season. Perhaps a difficult battle for the top four will also motivate the side in the Champions League.
Despite being the least experienced at European level, their form in the tournament, along with their phenomenal attacking spearhead, Kane, Spurs must be counted amongst the favourites of the English contingent.
Chances of winning: 80%
1. Manchester City
No one can deny that the Citizens are one of the favorites to win the title. Only PSG and Barcelona have displayed the winning formulas that can compete with the Sky Blues. Their squad is one of, if not the deepest in the Europe and their manager has the experience to go with it.
With the Premier League all but in the trophy cabinet, City face Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final and also have the FA Cup to fight for. As things stand a quadruple is not as far-fetched as it may seem. Perhaps being in with a chance in all of these competitions could be their downfall but when most of your subs are good enough to start on any other team, fatigue should not come into the equation.
This is an exciting time for English football. Having failed to really compete over the last few seasons with the Spanish, German and Italian sides, England has five out of the remaining 16 teams left in the competition – an occurrence we may never see again. The Premier League is finally living up to its reputation as best league in the world.
Without doubt Manchester City are England’s true shining light in the tournament. The Premier League leaders are in phenomenal form and if you didn’t know they were an English club you could mistake them for a Spanish side.
They are one of the tournament favourites and must have a huge chance of adding the Champions League title to their Premier League title, which is all but sewn up.
Chances of winning: 90%