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Why Do Premier League Sides Keep Losing To Spanish Opposition?

The common perception in England is that the Premier League is the world’s greatest – but Spanish fans certainly now have a strong case to dispute that.

After Atletico Madrid dumped Arsenal out of the Europa League at the semi-final stage on Thursday night, Spanish sides have beaten their English counterparts in 23 of their last 27 meetings in European competition knockout ties.

Diego Costa’s goal at the Wanda Metropolitano proved enough to carry Atletico into the Europa League final and was just the latest tale of woe for the Premier League against La Liga opposition.

It is a rotten run of results that date back almost a decade to the 2008-09 season and includes setbacks in the Champions League, Europa League and European Super Cup.

It also includes a number of finals where English clubs have fallen short when confronted with a Spanish opponent.

But Liverpool will have the chance to at least slightly improve the record when they face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 26.

This season alone has seen Chelsea lose to Barcelona and Manchester United eliminated by Sevilla in the Champions League last-16, while Real Madrid defeated United 2-1 in the Super Cup back in August.

Last season saw Atletico end Leicester City’s Champions League adventure in the last eight, while the previous season saw Barcelona beat Arsenal and Real Madrid knock out Manchester City in the Champions League.

In addition, Liverpool suffered defeat in the final of the Europa League to Sevilla, which at that point meant Spanish sides had won that competition five years in seven.

Barcelona dumped Man City out of the Champions League in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 campaigns, while Atletico beat Chelsea in the semi-finals in 2014.

United suffered three consecutive heartaches against Spanish teams before that – they lost 3-1 to Barcelona in the 2011 Champions League final, Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League in 2012, and Real Madrid in the 2013 Champions League.

Arsenal, meanwhile, were knocked out by Barcelona in 2010 and 2011, the last of those representing the beginning of a lengthy run of last-16 departures for Arsene Wenger’s men.

The sequence began in 2009, when Barcelona beat Chelsea on away goals in the Champions League semi-finals and went on to win 2-0 against United in the Rome final.

There have been just four successful outcomes for English clubs during this time period.

Last season, Leicester beat Sevila 3-2 on aggregate in the Champions League last-16, while United overcame Celta Vigo 2-1 in the Europa League semi-finals.

In 2015-16, Liverpool defeated Villarreal 3-1 in the Europa League semi-finals. And in 2011-12, Chelsea beat Barcelona 3-2 to reach the Champions League final.

But they have proved rare examples of Premier League supremacy in an era which has been dominated by the Spanish heavyweights.