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Aston Villa is the ONLY ENGLISH Team Left in Europe

4 minute read Published April 22, 2024

In a season where results in Europe meant more than ever, the European competitions started off great for English teams. Because of the new format of the Champions League, there are two extra spots available to the four best leagues. And it all depends on this season's performance.

Though the Champions League was disappointing for both Newcastle and Manchester United, for the other English teams, it was very successful. All other teams went through the group stage as winners of their group. Manchester City was also one of only four teams in all European competitions to go through the group stage with six straight wins (alongside Real Madrid, Leverkusen and Viktoria Plzen).

Six English teams made it through to the knockouts of the competitions, the same number as Italian, German and one more than Spanish teams. Fast forward to the semi finals and Aston Villa is the only English team left. And that’s in the Europa Conference League. 

Champions League
Bayern Munich Real Madrid
Dortmund PSG
Europa League
Marseille Atalanta
Roma Bayer Leverkusen
Europa Conference League
Aston Villa Olympiakos
Fiorentina Club Brugge

Spain holds two Champions League semi final spots, Germany the other two. Germany have three teams left in total and so does Italy. Spain and Germany make up all of the last four in the most prestigious competition. What happened to English teams?

Tough Season in the League

The race for the title is truly on in the Premier League. It’s been a while since the league has seen a run in like this one, where three teams still have a very good chance of winning it. Each game is crucial and there’s barely any room to rest up key players. Manchester City decided to rest Rodri for their game with Luton and if it weren't for three minutes of brilliance, between the 62nd and 65th minute, it could have cost them dearly.

In the Champions League, however, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City were all knocked out in the quarter finals. Manchester City have the deepest bench in terms of quality but they’re also competing in the FA Cup and have had an incredibly tight schedule. Arsenal played Aston Villa in between the Bayern quarters and as they had to rotate the team in that game, they lost 2-0.

Liverpool lost their game against Crystal Palace in between the Atalanta games. They tried not to rotate as much as possible and, of course, the players were fatigued instead.

Comfortable La Liga Season

Compare that to La Liga it looks like the final stretch could be pretty chill for Real Madrid and Barcelona. Girona are still breathing down Barcelona's neck, but all three teams have a comfortable cushion down to the Europa League spots. Real Madrid especially are now eleven points ahead of Barcelona, after their 3-2 win in El Clasico on Sunday.

So, Real Madrid look comfy at the top and Barcelona look like they’ll easily snatch a Champions League spot but can’t get first place. They’re both really putting their efforts into European football at this point. Additionally, Spanish teams have a firm grip on the European titles, it’s what Mourinho would call “Football Heritage”.

There’s no such rationalisation to be made about the German teams. Neither Dortmund or Bayern have had an easy season. Bayern have lost the league title for the first time in a decade. Dortmund are currently in fifth, in the Europa League spot. They’re both split in attention, between the league and Europe.

Lastly, Italy. Italian teams left the Champions League early, only Lazio and Inter were still playing in the round of 16, where they both lost. In the Europa League and Conference League, however, they’re doing better. Both Roma and Atalanta are playing semifinals in the Europa League and Fiorentina is taking on Club Brugge in the Conference League. They’ve a good shot at silverware. Although, Roma is taking on Leverkusen in their semifinal, that could be tough.

In the new European competition format, success in the Champions League is valued the most, success in the Europa Conference League the least. To have any chance at that last spot in the Champions League, Aston Villa needs to win it all.

It’s up to Aston Villa

So, with all other English teams out of Europe, it’s now up to Aston Villa. They’ll be the only representative of the country. Luckily, Unai Emery is an expert in continental football.

The Spanish coach has a stellar record in the Europa League. In fact, he’s arguably the best Europa League coach in the world having won four Europa League titles with two different clubs, Sevilla and Villareal.

Aston Villa still has a chance at the Premier League title but it would include the top three teams losing most of their remaining matches. That won’t happen. However, Villa also has Tottenham breathing down their neck, hunting down the last (probably) Champions League spot. The London club is six points behind with two games in hand.

It’ll be tough, but if anyone can do it, it’s Emery.


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