Real Madrid will meet Atletico Madrid in the final of the Champions League after both sides crushed their opponents in the semi-final second leg. Holders Bayern Munich and 2012 champions Chelsea were humbled by thumping home defeats to set up an all-Spanish final.
The English Premier League is often referred to as the best league in the world but they are clearly not producing the best teams. Chelsea?s triumph in 2012 bucked a worrying trend for Premiership sides in Europe?s flagship competition. They became the only English team to win the competition since losing on penalties to Manchester United in 2007/08.
United have made the final twice since then but were comprehensively beaten by Barcelona on both occasions. Arsenal have a formidable record of qualifying for the past 17 seasons but they too were beaten by Barcelona on the only occasion that they made the final. There will be no United next season so what are the prospects for English teams reversing this trend?
Jose Mourinho?s Chelsea went furthest by reaching the semi-finals this season before being eliminated by Atletico Madrid. The Chelsea boss has been playing down their prospects all season by saying that they are still in the rebuilding stage. It seems safe to assume that there will be a further cull of the older playing staff in the summer with some more transfer activity. A striker is top of his shopping list having already bemoaned the lack of a world class forward this season.
Manchester City made it through the group stages this year before losing to Barcelona. They have had a strange season, dominating the weaker sides and struggling against the top sides. In many ways, they have been the polar opposite of Chelsea who have beaten all of the top sides but squandered points elsewhere. City have the nucleus of a side capable of doing well in the Champions League but may need to bolster their defence.
Liverpool make a return to the top European stage and you have to question their credentials defensively. They have shipped far too many goals in the Premier League and relied on the fire power of Suarez and Sturridge to dig them out of trouble. They will surely need a stronger squad if they are to cope with a busy fixture list next season.
Arsenal look set to continue their proud record of qualifying but show precious little signs of making a serious challenge in Europe. If any English team is going to challenge for the Champions League next season there will have to be some big spending in the summer.