Although both Manchester United and Newcastle United saw their respective European journeys come to an end in December, England still has a strong contingent left in European competitions. As things stand there are six Premier League clubs gunning for European silverware this season.
English teams have a decent recent record in European competitions too. West Ham lifted the second-ever edition of the Conference League last season and there has been recent success in the more established Europa League and Champions League too. In the latter, English clubs have won three of the last five editions while there have been three English Europa League winners since 2013.
Winning a European title is never easy but with six clubs left standing across three separate competitions, the chance of more English success looks credible at the very least. Out of the teams still in with a shot though, which have the strongest chance of going all the way?
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The situation before the start of the knockout rounds is that Premier League clubs are the favourite for all three European competitions. Bearing this in mind, it would almost be a surprise if there is not at least one English club celebrating European silverware come the end of the season.
Club By Club View
Now we have an idea of the broader picture, let us take a closer look at each club individually and assess their chances of securing European success.
Despite their domestic dominance, for years a Champions League title somehow kept eluding Man City. They managed to break this curse last season though, with an understandably nervy 1-0 final win over Inter. With the pressure of having ended this barren run finally off their backs, City may be able to play with a little more freedom and confidence in Europe’s elite competition now.
While their recent triumph in Istanbul will not hurt their chances of future success, City are not currently at their very best. A loss of some key players during the summer transfer window combined with some significant injuries has seen City stumble a little domestically. Although they are still very much title contenders, Pep Guardiola’s men are not quite as feared as they have been previously.
It is not unheard of though for Pep’s side to experience short dips before bouncing back. And with money available to strength in the January transfer window, you can expect a strong second half to the season.
Verdict: Every chance but need to get back to their best.
Arsenal are firmly heading in the right direction under Mikel Arteta, who has transformed the Gunners during his tenure. The Gunners had not experienced Champions League action since 2016/17 but their strong second-place league finish last season saw them deservedly back in. Having not seen standards drop much since (only a little in the goal-scoring department) Arsenal are a side capable of giving anyone a real challenge on their day.
That said, it would be a huge ask for such a young side, with little Champions League experience, to go all the way on their first attempt. Nerves can play a large role on a big European night and even in the Europa League the occasion seemed to get to them last season against Sporting CP. With this in mind, you would probably not back them for a must-win clash against the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Man City.
Verdict: Quite possibly soon but unlikely this year.
Liverpool would be among the favourites for the Champions League if they were involved, so it is little surprise they find themselves as the most fancied team to win the Europa League. Over the last six seasons, they have reached three European finals (all in the Champions League), so they have no problems performing on the continent. Added to this impressive record is the fact that it has always taken a top side to dump the Reds out of Europe. If you look at their last five eliminations, four were caused by Real Madrid and the other Atletico.
With no teams from the Spanish capital involved in this season’s Europe League, Jurgen Klopp’s men seem well placed to go the distance. On paper, they are the strongest side remaining in the competition and they have shown in the past they are up for the big occasions. Injuries have been a problem for them this season but everyone except Joel Matip and Konstantinos Tsimikas are expected back before Liverpool’s next European match.
Verdict: Extremely good chance.
At times Brighton have looked as good as anyone under Roberto De Zerbi but the Seagulls have not looked like their best selves for quite a while. They could turn things around in 2024 but their hectic schedule combined with several injuries and much squad rotation has seen their usual levels drop significantly. When also factoring in their complete absence of European experience and their at-times unconvincing group stage performance, the Seagulls are not a side we will be backing.
Verdict: Hard to see.
West Ham went all the way last year in the Conference League to secure their first trophy in more than 40 years. This competition is a significant step up, but the Hammers have stepped up a little themselves. The Londoners have strengthened their squad with quality players such as Mohammed Kudus, Edson Alvarez and dead-ball specialist James Ward-Prowse. Additionally, they managed to top what was not the easiest of Europa League groups with a total of 15 points.
While they certainly have an outside chance, the Hammers seem too defensively vulnerable to win the Europa League. While they look better in attack now, they are on course to ship in 63 league goals this season, which is eight more than last year. Unless some significant January reinforcements arrive, the Hammers backline will likely be exposed in the latter rounds.
Villa have not won a piece of major European silverware since 1982 but they have a fantastic opportunity to change this in 2024. Not only have the Villains been performing exceptionally well under Unai Emery, but he is a man who knows a thing or two about European titles. The Spaniard has won the Europa League times and will most certainly be keen on adding to his trophy cabinet.
While Villa are deservedly favourites, you could see many potential match-ups going either way. If they end up facing the likes of Fiorentina, Eintracht Frankfurt, Lille or Real Betis at some point, Villa would not be the strong favourites in any instance.
Verdict: A good chance but lots of credible competition
In our view, out of all the English teams competing on the continent, Liverpool have the best chance of clinching European success this season, followed by Man City. Behind this we have Aston Villa who stand ahead of Arsenal, West Ham and Brighton (in that order).