Manchester City and Chelsea, holders of the Champions League lest we forget, have already bitten the dust, and many people expect Manchester United and Arsenal to follow suit when Europe’s top club competition gets back underway this week.
But can the two remaining English sides defy the odds and get the better of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively in the last 16?
On paper, both sides face daunting ties: Arsenal paying the price for failing to win their group at the expense of Schalke and being drawn against last year’s finalists, while United showed that winning your group isn’t always the advantage it is talked up to be when they were drawn against Jose Mourinho’s Madrid.
The poor showings of Chelsea and City led many to claim that the Premier League is not the powerhouse it once was and that it was only a matter of time before all four English clubs are eliminated from the tournament.
The bookies at bwin certainly think so, making Madrid the 11/20 favourites to qualify for the quarter-finals (United are 27/20) and Bayern an 11/50 shot compared to the 3/1 you can get on Arsenal.
But if you think that the English clubs can both get through to the last eight, then you should be taking bwin’s enhanced price on United and Arsenal doing just that.
The bookies at bwin go a big 9/1 that Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger both safely negotiate a path to the last eight, a market stand-out price. And why can’t it happen?
The red half of Manchester might face an intimidating trip to the Bernabeu in the first leg, but with the return game at Old Trafford to come, United can take advantage of Madrid’s poor away record, which has seen them lose five times in 12 La Liga matches.
And considering the form United are in – 11 wins and three draws from 14 matches – would you want to bet against them?
The same goes for Arsenal, who can grab a result in the first leg at the Emirates, where Wenger’s side have such a great record: with just two losses in 46 Champions League matches since 2004, Bayern will have their work cut out.
And why can’t Arsenal ‘do a Chelsea’ and hold Munich in their own stadium?
Really, 9/1 looks too big for both Manchester United and Arsenal to qualify and you should be having a go – it could well happen.