The qualifying rounds and group stages of the 2022-23 UEFA club competitions are out of the way. As 2023 gets underway, here is a look back at what the Premier League teams did in the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and UEFA Europa Conference League. Each team will be discussed, then a look at what it means for England as a whole from a coefficient perspective.
Premier League teams in the Champions League
The Premier League champions started their 13th campaign in Europe’s biggest club competition at the group stage. There, they were joined by former Champions League winners Borussia Dortmund, record Europa League holders Sevilla, and Danish regulars FC København.
Most predicted that the Cityzens would top the section with little-to-no trouble. Unsurprisingly, those people were spot on. It all started at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, where they pummelled Sevilla 4-0. They followed that up with a narrow 2-1 home success versus Dortmund. København proved to be no match at the Etihad either, as they went down 5-0, placing City in excellent position to progress.
That would be assured in Denmark, as Pep Guardiola’s side was kept off the scoresheet, but still came away with a point. Consequently, that result saw them into the last 16 of the Champions League, with a second consecutive scoreless draw in the following game at Dortmund winning them the section. In matchday 6’s dead rubber, they beat Sevilla 3-1 at home to be one of four teams in the Champions League to finish the group stage unbeaten.
Currently leading the UEFA 5-Year Club Ranking by 1.000 over Bayern, City amassed 19.000 points so far this season. Only Bayern’s 21.000 betters that total. RB Leipzig will be City’s opponent in the round of 16.
It has been an up-and-down season so far for Liverpool’s standards. Faced with a tricky group of Napoli, Ajax and Rangers, top performances were always going to be required.
They could not have gotten off to a worse start though, as Napoli ran rampant, beating Liverpool 4-1 in Italy. That seemed to wake Jürgen Klopp’s side up. A late Joel Matip winner saw them past Ajax 2-1 in their second game. Rangers would be put to the sword twice in the space of a week, as the Reds won comfortably 2-0 at home, before smashing last season’s Europa League finalists 7-1 in Glasgow. That was the heaviest defeat in the Champions League group stage this fall.
Following that up with a 3-0 success at Ajax, the Merserysiders welcomed Napoli in the last round of fixtures knowing that both sides would be progressing. The only thing to be decided was who would finish on top. Despite handing the Partenopei their first loss across all competitions, the 2-0 win was not enough for Liverpool to pip the Italians.
Finishing second in their group, Liverpool was the only Premier League team not to top their Champions League section. Still, that did not stop the six-time Champions League winners from earning 19.000 coefficient points for their troubles. They will be in it tough again in the round of 16, as they once again face Real Madrid, the same team who denied them a seventh crown in May.
A turbulent off-season spilled into the start of the Blues’ Champions League campaign. Drawn with AC Milan, RB Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb, Chelsea received a somewhat kind group in comparison to others.
They started things off in the worst possible way. A shocking 1-0 reverse to Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia resulted in Thomas Tuchel being sacked the following day. Subsequently, Graham Potter replaced the German, Chelsea did manage to turn fortunes around quickly.
A 1-1 draw at home to Salzburg was followed by four wins on the spin. Doing the double over Milan (3-0 at home, 2-0 away), the Londoners assured themselves top spot with a 2-1 victory in Austria. Plus, they would repeat that result at home to Dinamo to complete their group stage.
Despite their early stumbles, Chelsea has 18.000 coefficient points on the season and 123.000 over the five-year period. Next up for them is a first-ever meeting in Europe with Borussia Dortmund.
Spurs was handed what many deemed to be the Europa League group. Eintracht Frankfurt, Sporting CP and Olympique Marseille came out of the pots for Antonio Conte’s charges. None of the three seemed overly challenging to the masses. However, that did not stop the North London club from making a challenge out of it.
They started off a 2-0 success at home to Marseille. Yet, Spurs would fall by the same scoreline in Portugal the next week. A goalless affair in Germany put Spurs in a somewhat precarious position, as they were far from cruising. A dramatic 3-2 win in the reverse game against Frankfurt put them in a better position to advance. However, following a 1-1 draw at home to Sporting, they were not yet through.
A point at Marseille on the last matchday would be enough for Tottenham, who fell behind just before halftime. The 2018-19 Champions League finalists completed the turnaround though, scoring 10 minutes into the second period, then landed a final blow at the death. Spurs topped the group off the back of that 2-1 win.
Currently 18th in the five-year ranking, Spurs collected have collected 17.000 points in the first half of the campaign. Up next for them is a battle with Milan in the round of 16.
Premier League teams in the Europa League
As a result of losing fourth spot last May by their North London rivals, Mikel Arteta’s Gunners had to settle for Europa League football once more. Meeting them in Group A would be PSV Eindhoven, Bodø/Glimt and FC Zürich.
A narrow 2-1 victory at the Swiss champions kicked things off for Arsenal. They would then go on to beat Bodø 3-0 at home. They would complete the double over the Norwegians a week later, claiming a 1-0 win. The home leg with PSV was moved to the week before matchday 5. The Gunners would go on to win that game by a Granit Xhaka goal 20 minutes from time.
They would go on to lose in Eindhoven a week later though, going down 2-0. That meant Arsenal needed to win at home to Zürich to end up group winners. A third 1-0 success in the group stage did the trick, courtesy of Kieran Tierney.
As a result of topping their section, Arsenal now avoids the knockout round playoffs. They will find out their round of 16 opponent in late February. Furthermore, they have earned 15.000 coefficient points so far, moving their five-year total up to 74.000, good for 23rd across Europe.
It seemed as if United would have a walk in the park in their Europa League group. Real Sociedad, Omonoia Nicosia and Sheriff Tiraspol were pitted against the Red Devils. As a result, the 2016/17 winners were favourites to top their group.
Significantly, top spot eluded Erik ten Hag’s men. Brais Méndez’s penalty an hour in saw Real Sociedad shock United at home. Before meeting the Spanish side again on the last day of group play, the Red Devils would win all four games against Sheriff Tiraspol (2-0 at home and 3-0 away), and Omonoia Nicosia (3-2 away and 1-0 at home) to secure a top two finish.
Needing a victory by at least two goals to pip La Real to the top of Group E, they would only find the net once in the first half via Argentinian Alejandro Garnacho. The 1-0 win saw United draw level with Sociedad, but the Spaniards ended up group winners on goal difference.
Despite the 12.000 coefficient points won through their performances, finishing second means United will now have to deal with the knockout round playoffs. It will not get any easier either, because the Red Devils will now face Barcelona. They are really regretting that matchday 1 defeat now.
Premier League teams in the Europa Conference League
The only English side to have won all their games in Europe this season, things have been rather smooth sailing for West Ham. Kicking off their continental campaign in August, they cruised past Danish side Viborg in the Europa Conference League playoff round 3-1 at home and 3-0 away.
Making it to the group stage, David Moyes’ side came up against FCSB, Anderlecht and Silkeborg. They came from a goal down to defeat FCSB 3-1 at home to kick things off. They did the same a week later, though the result was 3-2 over Silkeborg. Wins over Anderlecht (1-0 in Brussels and 2-1 in London) saw the Irons guarantee a top two finish.
A 1-0 success over Silkeborg at London Stadium clinched the section for West Ham, who became the first team to win all six Conference League group games following a 3-0 win at FCSB to cap off group play.
The reward for winning Group B is a direct place in the round of 16. Add that to the 14.000 coefficient points won already and it has been a great European showing from West Ham. After the knockout round playoffs in February, they will find out their opponents in the last 16.
English coefficients in 2022/23
The statistics for the seven Premier League clubs in Europe combined are just staggering. A whopping 34 wins this season (32 across the group stage) is the best in Europe. The overall record for the Premier League sides reads 34-5-5.
What’s more? England has racked up a seasonal coefficient of 16.571. They are nearly 3.000 ahead of the next best country at this point (Germany’s 13.750) and have extended their lead at the top of the five-year country coefficient (103.141) to more than 14.000 points to nearest challengers Spain (88.885).
For more perspective on just how dominant England has been so far, only three countries (Spain, France and Netherlands) earned more coefficients throughout the whole of last campaign than England have at this stage. Looking at the three seasons before that, only Spain (all three seasons) and Germany (in 2019/20) bettered the 16.571 mark. It is truly something to behold.
With the Champions League adopting a new format from the 2024/25 campaign which will see the inclusion of coefficient-based spots in the group stage, England is in excellent standing to continually see at least five teams in club football’s premier competition. It goes without saying that England will almost surely end up as one of the two best countries in this season’s coefficient ranking, as they have in five of the last six years.
There is a good chance that at least one English team does will win a European competitions this season. Based on the level of domination seen by the Premier League clubs can only be described as otherworldly. It will be fascinating to see what transpires in 2023 as Man. City, Liverpool, Cheslea, Spurs, Arsenal, Man. United and West Ham chase European glory.