There were different stories for English clubs in Europe this week, with Bayern Munich ousting Manchester United at home while Chelsea produced another classic fight-back at Stamford Bridge as they knocked out Paris Saint-Germain with a memorable 2-0 win and strode into the semi-finals for the sixth times in the last 10 years.
That fantastic victory was a huge boost for Chelsea. They defied the odds, with very few believing they could progress after conceding two late goals in the first leg to go down 3-1. Chelsea’s credentials as Champions League contenders are still to be verified with their football a bit direct and simple at times, but one thing for certain is that nobody will look forward to facing them in the semi-finals.
The big question is whether their European quest will affect their chances in the EPL? The league battle is now a three-horse race with Manchester City and Liverpool having the upper hand ahead of their blockbuster clash this Sunday. Even if Chelsea win their last five games, including a game at Anfield against Liverpool on the same weekend as the first leg of Champions League semi-finals, they may still lose the title to City. Ironically, the Champions League may therefore represent the best chance for José Mourinho to claim a title this season.
The EPL top four remained unchanged last weekend with Liverpool, Chelsea and City all securing wins but Arsenal’s place in next year’s Champions League is now under serious threat after they were swept 3-0 by a marvelous Everton.
Meanwhile, Norwich City hit the panic button and sacked manager Chris Hughton with the Canaries having registered just three wins in 2014. The former Newcastle United boss became the ninth manager to receive his marching orders this season. But the relegation battle remains most relevant to Fulham, Cardiff City and Sunderland, with none of them having reached 30 points yet. History says that 40 points is the average safety line for Premier League clubs to survive.