Four groups in the Champions League have all finished six rounds of group matches. Currently, there are 15 clubs have qualified for the knockout stage, including four Premier League clubs (a total of 16 clubs will compete in knockout stage). It is worth mentioning that all the teams (4 teams) from Premier League have all successfully advanced to the next stage, which once again proves the strength of the Premier League teams.
However, they can’t relax too early, because the next stage will be harder. Last season, the Premier League had five teams in the round 16, which is record-breaking but in the end only two teams advanced to the quarter-finals.
In this season’s Champions League, the four Premier League teams in the group stage are Tottenham (Group B), Liverpool (Group C), Manchester City (Group F), Manchester United (Group H). Their performance has been remarkable so far.
The British media has always said that the Premier League is the world’s first league. The Premier League team’s performance this season in Champions League is indeed worthy of this honor. When their games are going well, they can stabilize the situation; when games are not under their countrol, they can also try their best and gain a relative good result.
Tottenham’s qualifying path is quite tough. In the case of only getting one point in the first three rounds, they did not give up and performed better and better. Tottenham and Barcelona, Inter Milan and Eindhoven are in group B, the strength of these four teams are not weak at all. In the first three rounds of the group, Tottenham’s record is very bleak, 1-2 lost to Inter Milan, 2-4 lost to Barcelona, 2-2 draw with Eindhoven. With 1 draw and 2 losses, almost everyone thinks Tottenham will become a joke in the Champions League.
Unexpectedly, Pochettino’s team turned to be stronger in the second half of group stage. They first defeated Eindhoven by 2-1, and later in the battle with Inter Milan, they won by 1-0. In this round’s game, Tottenham fought against Barcelona and got an tough 1-1 draw. The draw helps them to be qualified for knockout stage and caused Inter Milan out of Champions League.
Liverpool’s qualifying process is equally tough. Unlike Tottenham, Liverpool’s start was perfect, with 2 wins and 1 loss in the first 3 rounds. However, the Reds lost both in the 4th and 5th rounds, and the 0-2 loss to the Red Star was particularly surprising. After five rounds, Liverpool’s qualifying situation was not optimistic. Fortunately, the Reds tried their best in this round. Salah scored a goal and Alison kept a clean sheet. Liverpool got a 1-0 win over Naples.
In the end, both Liverpool and Naples scored 9 points. Their win-loss record against each other relationship is the same, and the number of goal differential is the same as well, but Liverpool has scored more goals, so in the end Liverpool got a seat in the next stage. Liverpool lost all 3 away games, but still can advance to the round 16, becoming the third team in the history of the Champions League to do this (the previous two teams Arsenal in 2001-02 season and Celtics in 2007-08 and 08-09 season).
Compared to Tottenham and Liverpool’s tough qualifying process, Manchester City and United’s qualification is smoother. Manchester City lost to Lyon in the first round 1-2, bursting with cold, but they kept the victory in the 2-4 round. In the fifth round, Manchester City got a draw with Lyon. After 5 rounds, with 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss, Manchester City has already advanced to the round 16. This round’s game, Manchester City only need one point to secure No.1 in the group.
Manchester United has been struggled in the Premier League this season, but played well in the Champions League. In the fourth round of the group stage, Manchester United defeated the team’s strongest opponent Juventus in the away game by 2-1. This victory made people see the strength of Mourinho’s Manchester United. In the fifth round, Manchester United successfully got a win at home. Now the Red Devils have qualified for knockout stage in advance with 10 points.
The 4 teams from Premier league have all qualified for the round 16 is certainly enough to make the British media happy, but they can not be blindly optimistic. The competition within the Premier League is too fierce and strong, and each team spend too much energy on it. They would like to be weaker in the future. Last season, the Premier League actually had five teams qualifying for the knock out stage in the Champions League, which created a history. However, after 1/8 finals, only Manchester City and Liverpool advanced to the quaterfinals, which is quite upset.