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First or last: Contrasting fates for the English teams in the Champions League

The English Premier League will be represented by only two teams in the knock-out phase of the Champions League. Surprisingly or not, that number is lower than LaLiga, Serie A and the Bundesliga’s who qualified 4,3 and 3 teams respectively. Manchester City and Arsenal faced no problems on their way to the last-16 round and qualified prematurely, both winning their groups. City won all of their six matches, and progressed as the only 2nd team with a perfect record left in the competition. The Gunners lost once, away to Lens, but it did not affect them in a negative way.

On the other hand, Newcastle and Manchester United encountered serious problems. Both sides recorded just one win apiece, with the Red Devils also setting an unwanted record for an English team in the process. They conceded a whopping 15 goals in six group games – the highest number for a Premier League side in the group stage. In fact, both Manchester United’s and Newcastle’s groups were won by German teams in the faces of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, with the two English sides finishing last. Such a scenario has never happened so far in the Champions League – two Premier League sides to finish last in their groups in the same season!

Such results come as just another confirmation that money can help, but does not play on the football field.