Man City's Champions League win boosts England's coefficient

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Man City made comfortable Champions League progress
Man City made comfortable Champions League progress

Manchester City made their expected progress through to the Champions League quarter-finals after a 3-1 aggregate win against Shakhtar Donetsk - and they also boosted England's hopes of hanging on to four spots in the competition.

City should have been celebrating securing a place in the last eight for the first time but by full-time at the Etihad Stadium the mood seemed rather sombre, as the implications of the injuries sank in.

The loss of Kompany, with a tricky run-in ahead, could be particularly galling - although on this occasion his team-mates coped well enough without him to ensure progress courtesy of last-month's 3-1 win in Ukraine.

It was a largely dreary encounter that only spluttered into life when Yaya Toure attempted to force the issue in the second half, but the closest City came was when Jesus Navas hit the post.

Yet their night was soured by injuries to skipper Vincent Kompany and his defensive partner Nicolas Otamendi, with both set for a spell on the sidelines as City strive to get back in the Premier League title race.

The bigger picture for English clubs is positive, with the Premier League now almost certain to secure four Champions League positions for next season.

The three top European leagues are assured a quartet of places in the Champions League, with Spain, Germany and England the nations in possession of those prized positions.

A failure from English teams to make progress to the latter stages of European competitions in recent years has allowed Italy to close the gap on the Premier League in the UEFA coefficient rankings, but City's progress has helped to halt that slide.

Indeed, if Juventus are knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, the Premier League will have secured their four berths in Europe's elite competition for another season.

English clubs have, in fact, extended their lead over Italy's Serie A so far this season, with this table confirming they hold a dominant lead over their rivals heading into the latter stages of European competition.

The threat to England's four Champions League places will be increased next season as the points Chelsea collected for their 2012 victory in the competition will drop out of the five-year calculations, but that is a debate for another day.