Four English clubs in the Champions League last eight. What took so long?

Celebrate by all means but ask also why Premier League sides have underperformed for a decade and remember it means little without the trophy

Unfurl the bunting, roll out the barrel, clear the streets for a party: there are four Premier League teams in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. With Chelsea all but through to the last eight of the Europa League and Arsenal in with a chance, these are heady days for the coefficient (even if La Liga has, so far, picked up more points this season). To which the first response should probably be less self-congratulation than,“What took so long?”

It’s 10 years since the Premier League last made up half the quarter-finalists. In 2009, three of them got to the semi-final but it was Barcelona who went on to win the competition in what was the first of Pep Guardiola’s four seasons at the club. Given the previous year there had been an all-Premier League final, Manchester United beating Chelsea in Moscow, and that English clubs had got to the final in each of the three seasons before that, this felt normal.

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