England's Big Four dominate Europe again

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It takes something special to make the Special One hold his hands up and admit that his team was just not good enough.

Excuses and bluster are a regular part of Jose Mourinho's regime on the rare occasion he is defeated, yet after his Inter Milan side was dumped out of the UEFA Champions League by Manchester United, he had nothing left to give.

"They are just better than us," Mourinho said. "We played to our potentiality, but it was not enough."

For Real Madrid boss Juande Ramos and Juventus' Claudio Ranieri, it was a similar story, as three of the world's biggest clubs failed to find an answer for the English onslaught on soccer's toughest club tournament.

Arsenal's tense penalty shootout win at Roma on Wednesday made it four out of four for the English Premier League's representatives, who will make up half the quarterfinal field. The EPL clubs have a vast sense of superiority against their continental rivals now, with an aura that was reinforced dramatically this week.

It will take something special to stop Liverpool, United, Chelsea and Arsenal from continuing England's stranglehold on the competition. And if the Special One couldn't do it, who can?

Here we take a look at Yahoo! Sports' latest Champions League rankings.

1. Liverpool. Rafa Benitez's side is dominant and destructive and packed with confidence, and this is the tournament that he has hinged his season upon.

2. Manchester United. The defending champion always finds a way to get the job done and remains on course to clinch an unprecedented five trophies this season.

3. Barcelona. Lyon was brushed aside with little fuss, but bigger challenges await a team that is trying to keep its dream season on track.

4. Bayern Munich. A magnificent 12-goal display over two legs against Sporting Lisbon was a strong signal of intent. The Germans are the best-placed team to break the EPL/La Liga monopoly.

5. Chelsea. Guus Hiddink has sprinkled some magic and is turning around what looked to be a doomed campaign. Owner Roman Abramovich might get the trophy he craves more than any other, after all.

6. Arsenal. The London club survived a scare in Rome and is a genuine contender, especially once Cesc Fabregas returns from injury.

7. Villarreal. Despite uncertain times domestically, Villarreal keeps on firing in Europe. No team will relish a trip to El Madrigal.

8. Porto. An outstanding run has ignited dreams of a repeat of the 2004 Champions League title success, but further progress will be a huge task.

Man of the matches

Thierry Henry. The Barcelona striker scored the opening two goals and set up another for Samuel Eto'o as the Catalans cruised past Lyon.

Shock of the week

No major upsets this week, with the biggest surprise being that the leaky defenses of Porto and Atletico Madrid managed to play out a 0-0 draw. Porto went through on aggregate.


Manchester United reached yet another Champions League quarterfinal, its 10th in the last 13 seasons. With their 2-0 win over Inter Milan, the Red Devils also extended their unbeaten streak in European competitions to a record 21 games.

We're happy

Arsenal. The Gunners held their nerve in the Stadio Olimpico to squeeze out a 7-6 victory over Roma on penalty kicks. Arsene Wenger's youth movement keeps on rolling.

We're not

Real Madrid. The Spanish giant and its players have endured a storm of abuse from furious fans and media following its humiliation against Liverpool, with one newspaper insisting the club has "fallen off a cliff, institutionally and professionally."