England have a grand spanking total of six, yes SIX, clubs in the quarter-finals of Europe’s top two club competitions.
The two Manchester outfits, Liverpool, and Tottenham are all in the last-eight of the continent’s elite event, the Champions League, while Chelsea and Arsenal occupy places in the equivalent stage of this season’s Europa League.
Compare this to last season when only three Premier League clubs held places across the board in the quarter-finals, while the campaign before saw just two English teams in the last-eight, with Leicester the sole representative in the Champions League, while Man Utd would go on to lift the Europa League under Jose Mourinho.
In recent years Spain have dominated both competitions. In the last five seasons a Spanish club has lifted the Champions League trophy, with Real Madrid grabbing the spoils four times. In the same timeframe Spanish clubs have been responsible for four Europa League triumphs, three of which were won by Sevilla, while clubs from the nation have bagged nine of the last 15 trophies in the competition.
In those five seasons Spain have thus remarkably completed a continental clean sweep = winning both the Champions League and Europa League in the same season.
This begs the question, have England ever done anything similar?
In the Champions League and Europa League eras the simple answer is no, but let’s remember that continental cup competitions did exist prior to the advent of the former in 1992/93.
In fact, England won the old European club a total of eight times, including a stunning six-season streak between 1977 and 1982; during which Liverpool bagged three European Cups under Bob Paisley, Brian Clough memorably led Nottingham Forest to back-to-back triumphs, while Aston Villa even got involved in the action.
It was during this particular period when England claimed the first of their two continental clean sweeps, in 1980/81, when Liverpool claimed their third European Cup in the space of five years, at the expense of Real Madrid, while Bobby Robson’s Ipswich overcame AZ 5-4 on aggregate in the UEFA Cup final, as it was then known.
We didn’t have to wait long for this outcome to occur again as Liverpool got their mitts on the European Cup in 1981 after Joe Fagan’s troops edged out Roma on penalties, while over in the UEFA Cup Tottenham also won via spot kicks, following back-to-back 1-1 draws against Anderlecht.
Can England dominate both European club competitions for a third time?
Considering that Premier League clubs make up half of the remaining eight teams in the Champions League, we’ve certainly got a fighting chance, especially considering that both Madrid clubs exited in the last-16. Although the likes of Barcelona and Juventus remain in the frame.
Over in the Europa League Chelsea will be reasonably content with drawing Slavia Prague in the quarter-finals, however Arsenal face a tough task against Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli.
Continental Clean Sweeps (Champions League/European Cup AND Europa League/UEFA Cup)
1974/75: Germany - Bayern & Mönchengladbach
1980/81: England - Liverpool & Ipswich
1983/84: England - Liverpool & Tottenham
1988/89: Italy - AC Milan & Napoli
1989/90: Italy - AC Milan & Juventus
1993/94: Italy - AC Milan & Inter Milan
1996/97: Germany - Dortmund & Schalke
2005/06: Spain - Barcelona & Sevilla
2013/14: Spain - Real Madrid & Sevilla
2014/15: Spain - Barcelona & Sevilla
2015/16: Spain - Real Madrid & Sevilla
2017/18: Spain - Real Madrid & Atletico Madrid