ENGLISH teams have always been well backed for the Champions League, but the reality now is they are drifting hugely in the market.
While the Premier League is the most exciting division in the world and sells everywhere – the end-to-end style appeals to all – when it comes to competing against the best in Europe we are sadly lacking and seem to be getting worse.
Real Madrid have made an awful start to their season, yet I watched them against Manchester City and started thinking: is this the best team in the Premier League?
City were played off the park and it would have been a travesty if City had got anything out of it.
They don’t seem to have learned anything from last year’s experience in Europe, despite the money they have spent and the talent they have got.
I was at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, too, and Manchester United were very, very average indeed.
With the exception of Wayne Rooney, it was United’s strongest side and yet they were poor, which must be a real worry to Sir Alex Ferguson.
Paul Scholes remains so important to them in terms of the way their play flows, and Galatasaray could count themselves unlucky.
They had a penalty turned down in the first minute, three or four other good chances and United, too, just don’t seem to have learned from what happened as they exited the Champions League and then the Europa League.
Chelsea are another who are not looking good, while the team who have made the best start to the season are Arsenal, although it’s difficult to know how strong Montpellier are. They are French champions but have made a bad season’s start.
Our clubs have traditionally always been in the top two or three in the betting for the Champions League, but it has now turned around big style.
The likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid are being backed in the outright markets, and then there’s a big gap to get near a Premier League side, with Manchester United at 9/1 being the best-rated chance.