Football: Champions League Review

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by Andy Blair, Chief Sports Correspondent

British teams had a successful first knockout stage in the Champions League this week with all four yet again making it to the second stage.  Liverpool and Manchester United made it to the second knock out stage in the most comfortable fashion with 5-0 and 2-0 aggregate victories respectively. Chelsea had more of a battle when they had a thrilling 2-2 draw in their second game against Juventus.  The 1-0 lead they had from the first leg was enough to see them through.  Arsenal had a rougher time with progressing to the next stage as they were beaten 1-0 by Roma.  As they had won their home game by the same score extra time was played before the tie was eventually settled on penalties in favour of the London team.

The results being into question the domination British teams have had in recent years in the Champions League and whether or not something could be done to level the playing field.  Liverpool, who have flattered to deceive in the league this year, destroyed Real Madrid 4-0.  The strength of British teams is worrying for the competition which is supposed to pit the ‘Champions’ from each league.

The proposed 6+5 rule that Fifa hope to implement will, hopefully, remove the top English clubs reliance on foreign players. This week, amongst the 4 English clubs, only nine English players started games and one came on as a sub out of a possible 44 places.  Arsenal have previously played many games without a single UK born player in the starting 11 or on the bench.

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