Manchester United, Chelsea or Liverpool, who do you miss the most on Tuesday and Wednesday nights?
Prevailing factors such as the emergence of "new powers" and an odds-defying Leicester City
have contributed to push a number of seasoned EPL
competitors (3 of the traditional "Big 4") out of Champions League
As for the teams who do represent the self-acclaimed best league in the world, Leicester have walked over a very easy group, Tottenham
have had a barren spell cut short at infancy, while Arsenal
and Man City
look destined for second best in their respective groups.
With the group stage of the competition winding up this week, having witnessed a good number of ties involving teams that no one wants to watch, we look to stir up opinion on which of three "Big 4" absentees is most missed, or whose presence could have been better appreciated. ChelseaThe last Premier League side to win the competition (2012). The Blues command as much global following as just about anyone. One also has to look at how outstanding a side they have been this season. It's almost heartbreaking to see a Club Brugge dancing naked in the premier club competition while a team like Chelsea can only watch from the sidelines.
READ ALSO: 13 Common Factors between Leicester 2016 and Chelsea 2017
Chelsea are currently on a blazing run of 8 straight EPL wins, with just two goals conceded in that run. They currently provide some of the best all-round football in Europe and have also shown that they are most capable of beating big rivals, a key ingredient for competing amongst the best in Europe.
Antonio Conte's side sit top of the Premier League yet are conspicuously absent from the UCL after a shambolic 2015/2016 that saw them finish down 10th domestically. Many would argue that Chelsea's absence from Europe has aided their imperious domestic form, but it is hard to picture a better representation for the origin of football than the Pensioners of West London. Liverpool
Liverpool's golden number of five is the highest number of Champions League
wins for a Premier League side. The Merseysiders have proved themselves most capable of churning out unforgettable European nights in the past, the most indelible being that 2005 miracle of Istanbul against Italian giants, AC Milan.
The Reds may not have exhibited their best in the competition since then, but their rich history ensures that they would always be a subject of craving.
Liverpool have for long been the flaming furnace of the Premier League
this season. They are the team who tore FC Barcelona to shreds in preseason and look capable of dismantling any obstacle on their day.
They are the team of Jurgen Klopp, the man who has turned Jordan Henderson from a shoe-lacer to a moon-walker. They may not be the 8th wonder of the world, but they sure look like they ought to be with the elite 32; if not for any other reason, to give John Barnes, on SuperSports, something to cling to. READ ALSO: Two Nigerians Picked by Guardiola for Man City vs.CelticManchester United
The team of Sir Alex Ferguson, and now the team of Jose Mourinho; there are a thousand and one reasons why Old Trafford should never be starved of a Champions League presence. It is no surprise that it is present United manager, Mourinho, that was commissioned to do an on-air commercial for the chief sponsor of the competition, Heineken - a showing of how much of an institution United are within the Champions League dynasty. READ ALSO: 9 Reasons Why Mourinho Is Still the Special One
United also have that knack for winning the epic competition in their own impressionable way. If it is not the Busby Babes recovering from an air disaster to win, it is Sir Alex's class of 92 touching down with a classic comeback against Bayern in 1999 or even roasting Chelsea in cold Moscow in 2008. Who doesn't miss all of that madness?
United have fallen from grace recently, but the Champions League
without the Red Devils still seems like seasons of drought in Yenagoa.
, United are in the Europa League, where many would argue that they do not belong. Mourinho certainly does not feel the club belong in the lower cadre of Europe but, in yet another Humpty Dumpty campaign is also finding it really hard to match last season's modest fifth place finish.
Which of these great Premier League super powers do you think the Champions League misses the most this season?