Saturday 10 December 2016

Paul Hayward: Champions League humiliation for Arsenal and Chelsea undermines the Premier League's grand claims

Published 23/02/2012 | 16:09

Chelsea players trudge off the pitch after their 3 - 1 humbling away to Napoli
Chelsea players trudge off the pitch after their 3 - 1 humbling away to Napoli

NAPLOLI’S Stadio San Paolo is a monument to decay and municipal paralysis. But on a bumpy pitch on Tuesday night the home team set about wiping the last of England’s clubs from the Champions League map with a zest Her Majesty’s four representatives have been unable to summon in a humiliating European campaign.

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Not since 1995, when Blackburn Rovers carried the flag alone, have an English club failed to reach the quarter-finals of the game’s premier club competition. On two London nights, Arsenal and Chelsea will probably now go the way of the Manchester giants, City and United.

Though each of the quartet can advance their own explanations, the outcome is devastation for England’s claim to be the world’s best league.

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