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La Liga Shows Premier League Where Best Teams Play

laligavsbplReal Madrid’s comfortable win over Manchester City in the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday was only latest example of La Liga’s dominion over the Premier League.

The Premier League might be the most watched league in the world, but when English clubs come up against Spanish sides in European competition, the results have not been pretty. Of the last 18 European knockout ties between the two nations, only one has been won by the English team.

And its not just the big three of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid that have knocked Premier League sides out of Europe over the last five or six years. Athletic Bilbao and Valencia have also come out on top in head to head battles.

That might not the best omen ahead of another Anglo-Spanish affair at Anfield on Thursday night as Liverpool take on Villarreal for a place in the Europa League final.

The Yellow Submarine lead 1-0 from the first leg and, in the home city of The Beatles, will be keen to complete the job at Anfield.

This season, aside from Real’s win over City, we had Barcelona thrashing Arsenal 5-1 on aggregate, winning comfortably home and away, in the last 16 of the competition.

Last season, en route to winning the competition, Luis Enrique’s side eliminated Manchester City at the same stage, having also knocked them out 12 months earlier.

There was, of course, that dramatic semi-final between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid in 2014 which saw Diego Simeone’s men advance with a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge.

In 2013, Real Madrid got the better of Manchester United in the last 16 as Cristiano Ronaldo came back to haunt his old employers at Old Trafford after the first leg was drawn in the Bernabeu.

Earlier that season, a Radamel Falcao hat-trick helped Europa League winners Atletico beat Champions League holders Chelsea 4-1 in the Super Cup.

It was 2012 that gave us the one English triumph in this era of Spanish supremacy as Chelsea sensationally overcame Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate to reach the Champions League final.

Memories of Fernando Torres racing away to score in stoppage time in the Nou Camp and confirm 10-man Chelsea’s progress remains fresh in the memory.

That year’s Europa League, though, saw Manchester United dumped out by Athletic Bilbao and Stoke City knocked out by Valencia.

The 2010-11 Champions League witnessed Arsenal beaten by Barcelona, Tottenham thrashed by Real Madrid and then United defeated 3-1 by Barca in the Wembley final.

Going further back, Barcelona also beat the Gunners in 2010, the same season Atletico ended the Europa League dreams of Liverpool in the semi-finals and Fulham in the final.

And 2009 saw Barcelona, the ultimate conquerors of Premier League opposition, knock out Chelsea in the semi-finals thanks to Andres Iniesta’s late sucker punch before they beat United 2-0 in the Rome final.