Everton managed the only victory for British clubs in European #Football this week and remain the sole surviving team in the Europa League. Their 3-1 win at Goodison, courtesy of two goals by Romelu Lukaku and one by Kevin Mirallas, gave them a comfortable 7-2 aggregate victory over BSC Young Boys.
Despite being the #Premier League's lowest ranked team (12th) in European action , theirs was the only shining light in an otherwise gloomy week for British clubs in Europe. It started with champions Manchester City suffering a home defeat, going down 2-1 to Barcelona. With Lionel Messi pulling the strings, it could, and should, have been a lot worse with Joe Hart saving a last minute penalty and Messi putting the rebound wide despite having an open goal. Sergio Aguero's late goal will give them hope for the second leg in the Nou Camp.
Arsenal would have fancied their chances at home against Monaco. When the draw was made, they could have been pitted against the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. However, their progress to the quarter-finals looks like a distant dream after going down 3-1 at the Emirates, with former Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov scoring the second goal. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled back a late goal to make it 2-1 before Monaco scored a third goal in injury time from a breakaway, causing Arsene Wenger to describe his side's defending as "suicidal".
Last night's biggest shock perhaps came from #Liverpool who led Besiktas 1-0 from the first leg after Mario Balotelli's penalty. Despite a number of first-half chances, the best of which falling to Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool could not capitalise on their early dominance. As with Berbatov, it was another former Premier League star, Demba Ba, who proved instrumental, laying on the Besiktas goal and nearly sealing it at the end of normal time as his shot came off the bar. Besiktas won 5-4 on penalties after successfully scoring with each of their strikes; Dejan Lovren missing the vital kick from the spot for the Reds.
Spurs also crashed out 3-1 on aggregate to Fiorentina. Having held the Italians 1-1 at White Hart Lane and with half an eye on Sunday's League Cup Final against Chelsea, Tottenham decided to rotate their squad, most notably leading scorer Harry Kane. His replacement Roberto Soldado missed a presentable chance in the first half and, despite dominating possession with 64% of the ball, lost by two second-half goals to send the Italians through.
Despite losing 1-0 on the night, Celtic perhaps came out of their tie with the most credit. They played for most of the game with 10 men after Virgil van Dijk was sent off in the 36th minute for his second booking. After the sending-off, Celtic defended manfully for the rest of the match with both Jason Denayer and Nir Bitton outstanding in defence and goalkeeper Craig Gordon keeping them in the tie. However, he could do nothing to keep out Fredy Guarin's 88th minute strike to send Celtic out. Celtic would have needed to win the tie after Inter's away goals in the 3-3 draw at Parkhead.
It has been a sobering week for British football, bringing clubs back to earth and providing the Premier League with a reality check. Despite the riches already on offer and the promise of a £5.1 bn television package, Britain's top clubs have this season proved to still be behind top European sides.