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‘Big Three’ by Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City will be dominant at the top of European football

‘Big Three’ by Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City will be dominant at the top of European football

Spain’s two big clubs dominated European football for the best part of a decade. In fact, Barcelona and Real Madrid won the Champions League a total of six times between 2011 and 2018 with European football’s most prestigious club award exclusively shared between the two rivals in five equal seasons.

Now, however, there is a new order at the top of the European game. Spain’s two big ones are both in the middle of a generational change, and this has opened the door for a completely English ‘Big Three’ to be established. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City are the ones setting the precedent.

It is not only at the top of the Premier League that this trio is dominant. Liverpool have won all five matches they have played in the Champions League so far this season, with Chelsea’s only defeat coming to Juventus and City’s only defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

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In fact, England’s top three teams have won all nine home games they have played in the Champions League in the 2021/22 season. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City all qualified for the round of 16 of the tournament with at least one group match left and will expect to make it to the final rounds.

Bayern Munich could, for some reason, argue that their inclusion in European football’s elite group should make a ‘Big Four’, where Julian Nagelsmann’s team boasts a 100% record in this season’s Champions League. Bayern have scored 19 times in just five games, with Robert Lewandowski possibly the best player in the world at the moment.

However, Bayern Munich’s domestic form has revealed some vulnerabilities. They have suffered some surprising defeats to Augsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt this season, while the Bavarians do not have the resources to spend on the transfer market as their Premier League rivals can.

Paris Saint-Germain have these resources, but Mauricio Pochettino is struggling to get the most out of his incredibly talented team. The French giants can not be ruled out due to the individual brilliance of Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar, but they lack an overall approach. Pochettino’s methods do not take root.

There are no such problems among the ‘big three’. Liverpool revolve around Jurgen Klopp after six years under his leadership, while City are a reflection of Pep Guardiola. They play as he sees the game with Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, a similarly well-trained outfit that has quickly absorbed the German’s ideas since his appointment in January.

This can be the biggest difference between ‘the big three’ and the rest of the hunt – they have the best managers. Guardiola and Klopp are without a doubt the best coaches of their generation, while Tuchel is currently operating at their level. It’s not just about assembling the strongest squad, but about finding the best manager to lead them.

Of course, the financial advantage that the Premier League’s biggest clubs enjoy cannot be ignored. English football has become a product exported around the world with recently agreed-upon broadcast agreements in Australia and the US worth billions set to widen the gap between the country’s richest and the rest.

Two of the last three Champions League finals were entirely English meetings, and it would not be much of a surprise if another entirely English meeting were witnessed in St. Petersburg. Petersburg next May. There is a reason why so many in European football still believe that a Superliga breakaway is their only hope of achieving parity at the top of the sport.

However, it’s not just that the ‘big three’ have the most money, it’s that they also spend it wisely – see how Manchester United are nowhere near their level. European football works in cycles, but Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City set a standard that it can take other years to reach.

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You can watch a free livestream of the Ballon d’Or ceremony in 2021 on eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app on Monday night. Join us from 19: 30-21: 00 GMT as the best male and female players on the planet are crowned in Paris (stream available for UK users only)

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