Premier League clubs need to up their game?
- Fri 15 Mar 2013, 8:07AM
- Posted by @dclayton_MCFC
So why have English clubs failed in the Champions League this season?
The Daily Mail’s Jeff Powell writes an interesting feature suggesting Premier League clubs need to up their game after Arsenal’s departure meant no quarter-finalist from England for the first time in 17 years.
City, of course, will also be looking to improve next season – but avoiding a third successive ‘Group of Death’ will surely help!
Writes Powell: “Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal are among a majority who are not as good as they were in the last season or two. The gap at the top has been closed more by their decline than any significant improvement in the teams below them.
Of the major clubs only Spurs have really upped their game but they are still not good enough to be challenging for the most glittering prizes
“Within the context of overall decline, Manchester United are a small miracle. Even though his team are in transition Sir Alex Ferguson has made marginal progress from when they lost the Premier title last spring. Those incremental advances have been enough to carry them 12 points clear of a rather bedraggled pack.
“That does not reflect well on the competition.”
Food for thought?
In the same paper, Chris Wheeler quotes United’s Jonny Evans and the Blues’ relentless chase as the critical last phase of the season begins this weekend.
“We all saw what happened last year,’ said Evans in Wheeler’s piece. ‘It’s up to us to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We keep saying it but hopefully we’ve learned from that experience.
“We’re in a great position in the league but we don’t want to give City any sniff of getting back in.
“We didn’t imagine being 12 points clear at this stage. It sounds like a lot but it’s only a difference of four games.”
That thread will run and run, no doubt! Finally, in the Bleacher Report, City are linked with a double Roma swoop after Roberto Mancini was spotted watching a match between Roma and Sampdoria last month.
Chris O’Brien writes: “Daniele De Rossi's been a target for much of Europe's elite for some time, but he now shares the dressing room with some of Italy's most exciting young talent.
"The 18-year-old Brazilian defender Marquinhos, 22-year-old Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic and the 21-year-old Argentinian phenomenon Erik Lamela being chief among them.
“Lamela and Pjanic would undoubtedly make for interesting additions for the Citizens.
“Reports in the French press have consistently linked Samir Nasri with a move away from Manchester in the summer, following a disappointing campaign from the former Arsenal man, and Pjanic would make an excellent, if not like-for-like, replacement.”