Which Premier League Team Will Go Furthest in the Champions League?
EPL Champions League Teams
European competition has not been a happy hunting ground for English Premier League teams so far this decade. Chelsea's win in the 2012 final capped off a period where English teams featured in the final of the tournament in seven out of eight seasons, but since then the Champions League has been dominated by Spanish, German and Italian teams, with Real Madrid the obvious standout.
But 2017/18 is surely the time for this to change. Television rights for the EPL have skyrocketed, and clubs now have unprecedented wealth (even if that means they are spending far more than a player's actual worth to get their man). English clubs also boast some of the biggest managers in world football, and it's time that one (or more) of them lived up to their lofty standards.
So who is most likely to progress deep in the tournament? Will we see a repeat of the 2007/08 season that saw two English teams make it to the final, or will the European experience of ever-present clubs like Juventus, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and of course Real be too much for the English teams to overcome? Below you'll find Bet365 odds for the 'Furthest Progressing Team' market, followed by a brief explanation of how it works and our analysis of the top contenders.
It is important to understand the rules of the 'Furthest Progressing Team' market. Winning the final would obviously be considered the best a team can do, but if an English team are not crowned champions then you would work backwards - i.e. runner-up, semi-finalist, quarter-finalist etc.
In the event of a dead-heat (which is reasonably likely considering two or more teams could exit the tournament at the same stage of the knockout round), you would receive a win based on half of your original stake. For example, if you were to place $10 on Manchester City at +200, you would receive winnings based on a $5 bet.
Pep Guardiola's team have had the longest active streak of consecutive Champions League appearances, having featured in the tournament since the 2011/12 season.
While Pep's first season in charge was underwhelming considering the quality of his squad, the team has been building towards becoming one of the elite European clubs, and their experience in the competition will be extremely useful. City made a statement this year by spending hundreds of millions on defensive players, twice beating the record transfer fee for a defender in the space of a week when they bought Kyle Walker from Tottenham and Benjamin Mendy from Monaco.
Ironically it was Monaco that exposed their frailties at the back in a gripping round of 16 tie that featured some incredible attacking football. And it's in the offensive third where City are incredibly strong, boasting the likes of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, along with creative maestros like David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne. They have the players, they have a coach who has won the Champions League twice already, so now it is time to perform.
At +200 they are favourites in this market and probably deserve to be, but unless they can at least match their semi-final finish in 2016 the campaign would be considered a failure.
- Furthest (EPL) Progressing Team: +200
- Group Qualification: Yes -1200 / No +700
- To Win Outright: +1100
City's cross-town rivals appear next on the list of favourites, and are well and truly in contention this year. Like Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho has won two Champions League trophies, and showed just how well he can do in Europe by guiding United to Europa League glory last year.
Although they have not been in the Champions League regularly over the last few years, expect the Red Devils to come close to rediscovering their best form in 2017/18.
Manchester United have started their English Premier League season emphatically, recording three comprehensive wins and three clean sheets. It will be interesting to see how well they manage their squad, but their additions are certainly solid. Much has been made about the signing of Romelu Lukaku, who adds so much to their squad and will be exciting to watch in Europe, but the real gem of a signing is former Chelsea man Nemanja Matic.
The midfielder's move was surprising to many, but he has shown to be a real asset under Mourinho for the second time. He completes a lineup that will be more than capable of winning the Premier League and could really push the top European sides. Add in Zlatan Ibrahimovich's European experience, and you have a team that presents possibly better value than City at odds of +225.
- Furthest (EPL) Progressing Team: +225
- Group Qualification: Yes -1400 / No +800
- To Win Outright: +1100
Chelsea signed Antonio Conte for the 2016/17 campaign and the primary goal would have no doubt been to take a team who finished tenth in the previous season back to the Champions League. Few could have predicted what Conte achieved in such a small period, but history will state that they not only finished top-four, but dominated the Premier League almost from start to finish - recording 13 consecutive wins at one stage.
Under Conte, they also have one of the world's top managers and a man who regularly led his team through the Champions League with Juventus. While his record is not quite as good as Guardiola or Mourinho, his ability to turn Chelsea around so quickly proves his ability. The key will be whether or not he can effectively manage his squad and balance the Blues' EPL commitments.
It will be fascinating to see whether Alvaro Morata can match the strikepower of Diego Costa - a player that when 'interested' was one of the most difficult to contain in the Premier League last season - and whether Eden Hazard will return to last year's form after his injury. Chelsea also have a reasonably tough group that contains both Atletico and Roma, so they will need to be good from the start to ensure they make it to the knockout stage.
At +300, they don't present too much better value than the Manchester clubs, and one feels that one or both of them will go further in the Champions League this year.
- Furthest (EPL) Progressing Team: +300
- Group Qualification: Yes -400 / No +275
- To Win Outright: +1600
The Merseysiders are back where they believe they belong, and under Jurgen Klopp they will be very dangerous in this competition. They looked nervous in their qualifier against Hoffenheim when they played away from home, and their defence is always a concern, however they showed just how hard they will be to beat at Anfield with a breathtaking attacking display.
They have a straight-forward group that they should qualify from, and usually thrive against top teams so are a real chance here. Klopp proved he was more than effective in the Champions League when he took Borussia Dortmund to the final in the 2012/13 season, and he also took Liverpool to the Europa League final in 2016. While his record in finals leaves a little to be desired, we're talking about a market where the team simply needs to make it the furthest, and if Liverpool can make it to the final in this competition there's a great chance of a payout at +600.
Liverpool have managed to hold on to midfield maestro Philippe Coutinho, and as long as he can put his notorious transfer saga behind him you'd expect him to thrive on the European stage. Just imagine if the Reds come up against Barcelona - it's an absolute marketers dream. Alongside players like Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and new signing Mohamed Salah, they have the attacking players to break down any top defence.
- Furthest (EPL) Progressing Team: +600
- Group Qualification: Yes -1200 / No +700
- To Win Outright: +2000
Spurs appear at the longest odds in this market, and there are four key factors that see the Londoners at the outsider price of +1000.
Firstly, Tottenham have easily the toughest group out of the English representatives in the Champions League. They will need to take on champions Real Madrid and Dortmund during the group stage, and are long odds to make it to the knockout stage. This ties into the second point - Spurs were well below average in the competition last season, failing to make it out of a group that was not as difficult as this one. The third factor is their Wembley form.
Last season Spurs were undefeated at White Hart Lane, yet were woeful whenever they played at the English national stadium. While they will likely improve their record as they play every home fixture there in 2017/18, they have started off with a loss and a draw, which keeps the hoodoo alive. And finally, star attacker Dele Alli has a carry-over suspension from last year's Europa League and will miss the first three matches of the campaign. They will still have star striker Harry Kane up front, but their squad still doesn't look like a team that can compete in both the English Premier League and Champions League this season. It's hard to see them doing anything in the competition.
- Furthest (EPL) Progressing Team: +1000
- Group Qualification: Yes -120 / No -110
- To Win Outright: +4000
This is a tough choice. England are very well represented in the 2017/18 tournament and four out of the five clubs listed above are almost guaranteed to make it to the knockout stage. This could be a competition where we see big English clubs come up against each other as we get to the latter stages, and this could determine the winner in this market. We are going to put our money on Manchester City because of their recent experience in the Champions League, but perhaps put a small amount on Liverpool who are really good outsiders here.
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