Ranking English club seasons in European football: Worst to best

Date published: Wednesday 19th August 2020 1:38

Liverpool Manchester United Champions League

Last season was supposed to spark an era of European dominance for English teams, after the two finals were both all-Premier League affairs. It hasn’t turned out that way, with no representation in the finals this season and just one team making it as far as the semis. But how does this season compare to the rest? We’ve ranked the seasons of English clubs’ performance in Europe from worst to best, starting in the 1992/93 season – the first year of the Champions League.

 

27: 1994/95
Champions League: Manchester United – Group stage
UEFA Cup: Newcastle – Second round; Aston Villa – Second round; Blackburn – First round

United did not thrive in the first year of the Champions League group stage.

 

26: 1992/93
Champions League: Leeds – Second round
UEFA Cup: Sheffield Wednesday – Second round; Manchester United – First round

Leeds lost on away goals to Stuttgart in the first round of the Champions League, but the second leg was forfeited as the German side fielded four foreign players instead of the limit of three. A play-off was played at the Nou Camp to decide the tie, which Leeds won 2-1. After all that, they lost 4-2 to Rangers in the second round and failed to make the group stage. Man United lost on penalties to Torpedo Moscow.

 

25: 1993/94
Champions League: Manchester United – Second round
UEFA Cup: Norwich – Third round; Aston Villa – Second round

Norwich beat Vitesse and Bayern Munich, before losing to Inter in the third round.

 

24: 2014/15
Champions League: Chelsea – Round of 16; Arsenal – Round of 16; Manchester City – Round of 16; Liverpool – Group stage
Europa League: Everton – Round of 16; Tottenham – Round of 32; Liverpool – Round of 32; Hull – Third qualifying round

Absolute garbage all round.

 

23: 1995/96
Champions League: Blackburn – Group stage
UEFA Cup: Nottingham Forest – Quarter-final; Liverpool – Second round; Leeds – Second round

Forest beat Malmo, Auxerre and Lyon before losing to Bayern in the quarters.

 

22: 1997/98
Champions League: Manchester United – Quarter-final; Newcastle – Group stage
UEFA Cup: Aston Villa – Quarter-final; Liverpool – Second round; Leicester – First round; Arsenal – First round

Aston Villa made the most of their inclusion as one of three Fair Play qualifiers, eventually losing to Atletico on away goals.

 

21: 2002/03
Champions League: Manchester United – Quarter-final; Newcastle – Second group stage; Arsenal – Second group stage
UEFA Cup: Liverpool – Quarter-final; Leeds – Third round; Blackburn – Second round; Chelsea – First round

Both Blackburn and Liverpool lost to Celtic as they made their way to the final, where they lost to Porto.

 

21: 2019/20
Champions League: Manchester City – Quarter-final; Chelsea – Round of 16; Liverpool – Round of 16; Tottenham – Round of 16
Europa League: Manchester United – Semi-final; Wolves – Round of 16; Arsenal – Round of 32

So much hope after previous season.

 

20: 1996/97
Champions League: Manchester United – Semi-final
UEFA Cup: Newcastle – Quarter-final; Aston Villa – First round; Arsenal – First round

United lost to the eventual champions Borussia Dortmund in the semis; Newcastle lost 4-0 to Monaco.

 

19: 1999/2000
Champions League: Manchester United – Quarter-final; Chelsea – Quarter-final; Arsenal – Group stage
UEFA Cup: Arsenal – Runners-up; Leeds – Semi-final; Tottenham – First round; Newcastle – First round

Chelsea were crushed 5-1 by Barcelona in the second leg after winning the first 3-1. Arsenal beat Nantes, Deportivo, Werder Bremen and Lens before losing to Galatasaray in the final.

 

18: 2013/14
Champions League: Chelsea – Semi-final; Manchester United – Quarter-final; Arsenal – Round of 16; Manchester City – Round of 16
Europa League: Tottenham – Round of 16; Swansea – Round of 32; Wigan – Group stage

Chelsea lost 3-1 in the second leg at Stamford Bridge to Atletico Madrid.

 

17: 2001/02
Champions League: Manchester United – Semi-final; Liverpool – Quarter-final; Arsenal – Second group stage
UEFA Cup: Leeds – Fourth round; Ipswich – Third round; Chelsea – Second round; Aston Villa – First round

United missed out on the final as they lost on away goals to Bayer Leverkusen.

 

16: 2003/04
Champions League: Chelsea – Semi-final; Arsenal – Quarter-final; Manchester United – Round of 16; Newcastle – Qualifying round
UEFA Cup: Newcastle – Semi-final; Liverpool – Fourth round; Blackburn – First round; Southampton – First round

Wayne Bridge’s goal saw Chelsea through against the Arsenal Invincibles, before Fernando Morientes shut the door in their face. Newcastle beat Mallorca 7-1 on their way to the UEFA Cup semis.

 

15: 2010/11
Champions League: Manchester United – Runners-up; Chelsea – Quarter-final; Tottenham – Quarter-final; Arsenal – Round of 16
Europa League: Manchester City – Round of 16; Liverpool – Round of 16; Aston Villa – Play-off round

Alex Ferguson had no answer against arguably the greatest ever football team.

 

14: 2009/10
Champions League: Manchester United – Quarter-final; Arsenal – Quarter-final; Chelsea – Round of 16
Europa League: Fulham – Runners-up; Liverpool – Semi-final; Everton – Round of 32; Aston Villa – Play-off round

Fulham’s year. They beat Shakhtar, Juventus, Wolfsburg and Hamburg in an incredible run under Roy Hodgson.

 

13: 2012/13
Champions League: Manchester United – Round of 16; Arsenal – Round of 16; Chelsea – Group stage; Manchester City – Group stage
Europa League: Chelsea – Winners; Tottenham – Quarter-final; Newcastle – Quarter-final; Liverpool – Round of 32

Chelsea somehow beat Benfica to win their second European trophy on the trot.

 

12: 2015/16
Champions League: Manchester City – Semi-final; Chelsea – Round of 16; Arsenal – Round of 16; Manchester United – Group stage
Europa League: Liverpool – Runners-up; Manchester United – Round of 16; Tottenham – Round of 16; Southampton – Play-off round

Fernando’s own goal was enough for Madrid to beat City in the semi-final. Still the furthest they’ve got.

 

11: 2005/06
Champions League: Arsenal – Runners-up; Liverpool – Round of 16; Chelsea – Round of 16; Manchester United – Group stage; Everton – Qualifying round
UEFA Cup: Middlesbrough – Runners-up; Bolton – Round of 32; Everton – First round

Arsene Wenger’s achievement dwarfed by a wally with a brolly.

 

10: 2016/17
Champions League: Leicester – Quarter-final; Arsenal – Round of 16; Manchester City – Round of 16; Tottenham – Group stage
Europa League: Manchester United – Winners; Tottenham – Round of 32; Southampton – Group stage; West Ham – Third qualifying round

Leicester keep that winning feeling before being knocked out by Atletico; Jose Mourinho bags Europa for United.

 

9: 2011/12
Champions League: Chelsea – Winners; Arsenal – Round of 16; Manchester United – Group stage; Manchester City – Group stage
Europa League: Manchester United – Round of 16; Manchester City – Round of 16; Stoke – Round of 32; Tottenham – Group stage; Birmingham – Group stage

The Chelsea miracle of Munich. Drogba and the full kit wanker.

 

8: 1998/99
Champions League: Manchester United – Winners; Arsenal – Group stage
UEFA Cup: Liverpool – Third round; Leeds – Second round; Blackburn – First round; Aston Villa – Second round

United weren’t lucky per se, but it was far from plain sailing as they went on to lift the title. They had to beat LKS Lodz of Poland 2-0 in the qualifying round before making the knockout stages as the second of the two best runners-up in the group stage. Those gentlemen from Villa Park failed to take advantage of another Fair Play place.

 

7: 2000/01
Champions League: Leeds – Semi-final; Arsenal – Quarter-final; Manchester United – Quarter-final
UEFA Cup: Liverpool – Winners; Chelsea – First round; Leicester – First Round

Leeds came second in both of their groups in a particularly weird Champions League format, before beating Deportivo in the quarters ahead of the 3-0 loss to Valencia in the semi-finals. Liverpool became the first English team to win the UEFA Cup post the Heysel disaster. Chelsea lost to St. Gallen of Switzerland.

 

6: 2017/18
Champions League: Liverpool – Runners-up; Manchester City – Quarter-final; Liverpool – Round of 16; Manchester City – Round of 16;
Tottenham – Round of 16

Europa League: Arsenal – Semi-final; Everton – Group stage

Liverpool lose the Karius-Bale final.

 

5: 2008/09
Champions League: Manchester United – Runners-up; Chelsea – Semi-final; Arsenal – Semi-final; Liverpool – Quarter-final
UEFA Cup: Manchester City – Quarter-finals; Aston Villa – Round of 32; Tottenham – Round of 32; Portsmouth – Group stage

The referee helps Barcelona through against Chelsea, before they beat United in the final.

 

4: 2006/07
Champions League: Liverpool – Runners-up; Chelsea – Semi-final; Manchester United – Semi-final; Arsenal – Round of 16
UEFA Cup: Tottenham – Quarter-final; Blackburn – Round of 32; West Ham – First round

AC Milan get their own back on Liverpool as three English teams make the semi-finals of the Champions League.

 

3. 2004/05
Champions League: Liverpool – Winners; Chelsea – Semi-final; Manchester United – Round of 16; Arsenal – Round of 16
UEFA Cup: Newcastle – Quarter-final; Middlesbrough – Round of 16; Millwall – First round

Gerrard. Ghost goal. Gerrard.

 

2: 2007/08
Champions League: Manchester United – Winners; Chelsea – Runners-up; Liverpool – Semi-final; Arsenal – Quarter-final
UEFA Cup: Tottenham – Round of 16; Everton – Round of 16; Bolton – Round of 16

A dominant year for English clubs in the Champions League. John Terry f***s it for Chelsea.

 

1: 2018/19
Champions League: Liverpool – Winners; Tottenham – Runners-up; Manchester United – Quarter-final; Manchester City – Quarter-final
Europa League: Chelsea – Winners; Arsenal – Runners-up; Burnley – Play-off round

Two finals, four English teams. Liverpool win the worst Champions League final in history. Eden Hazard signs off with a bang for Chelsea.

 

Will Ford is on Twitter

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