The first round of group games saw English clubs win just once (Chelsea) and lose three times (Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United). A 25 percent win percentage is nowhere near where “the best league in the world” should be performing. Matchday 2 was only slightly better — the Manchester clubs were victorious, but both London sides fell to defeat.
Pretty much everyone has a theory to explain the European struggles of Premier League sides, and that includes Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who feels the footballing authorities in England could and should be doing more to help PL sides in European competition.
Rodgers, on why PL sides struggling in Europe — quotes from the Guardian:
“You see Porto last night. Porto played on Friday, they had dispensation to move their game, so that keeps them fresh. I also think the big teams abroad can sometimes win games at 70% and conserve their energy and be fresh. There is no game in the Premier League where you can do that.
“Chelsea will come back and have a tough game at Southampton this weekend. There is no easy game in the Premier League. The physicality and the intensity of the games is like no other league.”
“In other countries, some of the big teams can change five, six, seven players and still win the game and field a real strong team for the next game. They have got a domestic competition less too. We have two cup competitions in this country, the others have one. It all adds up to it being difficult for the Premier League teams.
“But it is something that we have to cope with and we respect that challenge. It means you have to monitor your players and get the best out of the ones who are available.”
On one hand, Rodgers is absolutely right. PL teams do struggle in Europe because the competition back home is so strong week in and week out. That’s all part of being “the best league in the world,” as so many champion the PL.
There’s a reason the PL rakes in more television revenue than any other league in the world — the competition, the drama and the quality is so high spread across its 20 teams. While PL sides aren’t catered to with regards to “easy games” or fixture scheduling designed to assist clubs in Europe, outside of Real Madrid and Barcelona, few, if any, clubs in Europe have the financial firepower with which to build their squads.
It’s not the PL’s fault that Arsene Wenger refuses to spend any of the $300 million available to him. It’s not as if Chelsea are currently tearing the PL limb for limb, running away with the league and struggling only in Europe — they’re currently 14th in the PL. Finally, it’s not the PL’s fault Rodgers and Co. have so poorly spent $390 million over seven transfer windows and look nothing like a Champions League side at the moment.