THIS week could see the ‘unthinkable’ happen – and have no English teams competing in Europe as early as March.
A few years back, the Premier League was dominating Europe, with English representation almost stifling other nations – it’s almost expected that the Premier League’s giants make at least the quarter finals, with a minnow or two having a good run in the Europa League for good measure.
But by the end of this week, Chelsea, England’s last Champions League contender, look likely to have bowed out to Napoli, while underachieving Manchester teams United and City – who both were shocked to have slipped into the Europa League – need to overturn first leg deficits to progress.
By contrast, Real Madrid and Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AC Milan all look very strong.
But we’re not doomed.
Moneybags Manchester City are still newcomers in European terms and growing in experience – it would be folly to believe they won’t be stronger on the continent next term.
Stalwarts Manchester United have a young side which will undoubtedly be stronger as individuals as well as a unit next season.
And of the other potential Champions League entrants…
Arsenal, provided they can hang on to the prolific Robin van Persie, will also be buoyed by the returns of the likes of Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby.
Chelsea are a team in transition and will no doubt have a new manager at the helm and a few fresh faces in their line-up.
And Spurs have the individuals in their squad to beat just about any team in Europe on their day.
Plus this season’s Premier League table has been skewed by teams such as Newcastle, Sunderland, Liverpool and Everton bridging the ‘Big Four’ gap – giving the impression of a weakened league.
If anything, despite this season’s woes, English football is poised to hit back with a bang next season – after all, they don’t like it up ’em.