FOOTBALL Women's Football

UEFA Women’s Champions League: How far can Manchester City and Chelsea go?

With the round of 32 draw taking place tomorrow, Manchester City and Chelsea are the two English teams within contention.

Changes have been made to the format of the draw, in line with Covid-19 protocols, and there are only four potential teams each of them could face

The English sides can only be drawn against unseeded teams, which makes their progression to the latter stages likely – but just how far can they go in this year’s competition?

French side Olympique Lyonnais have won the title seven times, making them the most successful team in the competition’s history.

Lyon are a force to be reckoned with in European football, and the current state of play makes it seem unlikely that anyone will stand in the way of their eighth title.

Manchester City made their Champions League debut in the 2016/17 season when they progressed all the way to the semi-finals, falling short against eventual winners, Lyon.

The story re-wrote itself the following season when they again made the semi-finals, and Lyon unsurprisingly were the ones to progress and go on to lift their fifth European title.

Since then, the Manchester club have struggled to progress into the latter stages of the competition, losing out to Atletico Madrid in the round of 32 in 18/19 and the Spanish side again in 19/20, this time in the round of 16.

Earlier this year, City appointed Gareth Taylor as their head coach and the former Wales striker has bolstered the squad with world-class talent since taking charge.

Women’s football writer Rich Laverty believes that, despite the additions to the squad, European glory may be some way off for the Manchester club.

“Moving onto a new head coach after six years of familiarity, it’s no surprise things are taking a bit of time to gel,” he said, speaking exclusively to Park Life sport. “They’ll hope to go further than they have the last few seasons and with the additions of Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle, Lucy Bronze etc. they have extra quality and depth to do so.

“But I don’t see them going all the way and I still think it’s too early for them.”

Arsenal remain the only English side to have won the competition and their London rivals Chelsea have struggled to make their mark in recent years.


In the 18/19 season, Emma Hayes’ side made it as far as the semi-finals, eventually falling to a 3-2 aggregate defeat to Lyon. 

They made the semi-finals the season prior, this time crashing out at the hands of German side VfL Wolfsburg, who have two titles to their name.

“Emma Hayes seems to not quite know how to get her all-star side to gel, with the likes of Pernille Harder, Melanie Leupolz, Sam Kerr, Beth England,” Laverty Continued. “Do they have too many options? Quite possibly.”

“Chelsea have to pick it up in big games. PSG proved Lyon can be beaten at the weekend and Chelsea are one of the few who could dethrone them.

“But I think there are still question marks.”

Lyon, though, are a giant of the women’s game and serve as an inspiration to teams like Manchester City and Chelsea, who dominate the English league, but are still relatively unproven on the European stage.

Both English sides have assembled star-studded squads, with names like Kerr, Harder, Bronze, Lavelle and Mewis – but Lyon’s success is instilled within their culture and whilst Europe is catching up and the competition is becoming fiercer, they’re still firm favourites to win their sixth title in a row.

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