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    English teams lack the necessary experience in Europe

    Yesterday's Champions League Round of 16 tie between Manchester City and Monaco served up an enthralling end-to-end dizzying encounter that was eventually settled by 5 goals to 3 in favour of the Citizens. Neutrals purred, pundits talked about the game with wide smiles, and the football world at large stood in awe over the array of attacking talent on display that led to a stunning goal-fest.

    Unfortunately for people that actually wish well for English football, this is a recipe that ultimately results in failure in the big competitions. This isn't a problem monopolized by just Manchester City among big English teams. If Liverpool for example qualify for next season's Champions League, their ultimate downfall will be their lack of ability to grind out gritty dirty ugly 1-0 wins on a consistent basis against smaller sides, let alone European behemoth teams. Arsenal on their day can put a truckload of goals against a side like Basel, but it ultimately amounts to nothing when they face the big boys. Both those teams seem incapable of putting in a dirty Atletico-style performance littered with shirt pulls, time play, tripping over opponents during counter attacks and a high competency from set pieces.

    A high emphasis on attack isn't a bad idea if your name is Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich and you have genuine world class quality in most positions. If you look at the Premier League's best players however, the majority of them were unwanted by the aforementioned European big boys (see Alexis Sanchez, Fabregas or Mesut Ozil). Hence it would be better to take a page out of the book of the likes of Juventus or PSG for example - maybe not A+ teams, but at least a solid A-.

    A team like Juventus are a threat as they understand the balance between attack and defence. They see no shame in playing defensively at home to a smaller side if necessary, or playing attacking football away at the Allianz if necessary as well (as they did in last season's Champions League). If they must play out from the back, Buffon, Chiellini and Bonucci are more than capable of doing so. If they must go long, Mandzukic can be a good outlet. If they want steady build up, Pjanic can facilitate it. If they want a destroyer to block out counter attacks, Khedira is more than happy to oblige. If they want a bit of individual star quality, look no further than Dybala. If you just want someone to stick it in the back of the net for goodness sake then Higuain's your man.

    Juventus and PSG are teams that are tactically flexible and can approach a game in a multitude of manners. The closest English teams to achieving this are perhaps Chelsea or even Manchester United, the latter of whom will require some time before realizing they can't do a typical "Mourinho job" on big teams the way they think they can just yet. Manchester City are more than capable of going far in Europe, but it's evident that they've chosen the path of outplaying opponents completely rather than solidity and experience. This again will require time as to do this on a consistent basis in the Champions League, you have to be considered firmly among the top 5 teams in Europe, and at least be somewhat competent at defending counter attacks that dominant teams will inevitably face regularly.

    In short, English teams aren't dirty enough, experienced enough or smart enough to consistently threaten Europe's elite silverware. In the meantime expect lots of high scoring games, then wondering where it all went wrong when the swashbuckling attack has an off-day and the defence isn't there to bail them out.
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    Item Reviewed: English teams lack the necessary experience in Europe Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ahmed Hosny
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