England’s Champions League contenders endured vastly different experiences in matchday one of the Champions League last week. Two losses and two wins marked an interesting opener to Europe’s premier club competition. But how will it affect English clubs’ chances overall – will it set the tone for the rest of the competition or should we call it a one-off?
Faltering start for the favourites
The bookies have had Manchester City as stand out favourites to lift this year’s Champions League trophy long before the season even began. But the blue half of Manchester didn’t exactly began their European campaign in sterling fashion. Racking up a 2-0 loss at home to Lyon, which should have been one of their easier endeavours. It’ll give them a fair warning shot to improve.
Nevertheless, the bookmakers are still backing City as favourites to lift the trophy. If you want to deeper into this season’s Champions League betting predictions then head over to BookiesBonuses.com to learn more.
The Citizens head to Hoffenheim on Tuesday (kick off 17.55 BST) and will be hoping to kick start their campaign with a much needed three points.
Pogba puts Reds in prime position
The red half of Manchester is in action on Tuesday as well when United host Valencia at Old Trafford (20.00). United began their campaign with 0-3 win away at Young Boys of Bern. The Swiss outfit are the weakest team in Group F, but United avoided a potential banana skin situation, in what could’ve easily been an awkward opener.
But all is not well at Old Trafford at the moment, with lacklustre performances at home, and a potential schism looming between main man Paul Pogba and manager Jose Mourinho. It was Pogba who was the standout performer in their Swiss opener and the Red Devils will need all their big guns firing with Valencia and Juventus lying in wait.
Klopp’s Kop is roaring
Despite their surprisingly stellar campaign last season which saw the Scousers make it all the way to the final, Liverpool are only England’s second favourites to lift the trophy. Initially beginning the season as seventh favourites overall, they’ve now climbed ahead of last year’s victors Real Madrid in the bookies’ rankings.
It’s no wonder why. Liverpool put in an impressive performance to see off PSG’s star power on the Anfield turf with a last minute winner from forward Roberto Firmino. True the Parisians are no joke, but Liverpool repeatedly let them back into the game, and they’ll have to tighten it up if they want to win their group.
They travel to Napoli on Wednesday night (20.00 BST). The Stadio San Paolo isn’t exactly an easy place to go at the best of times, especially on raucous European nights.
Spurs slip at San Siro
England’s fourth favourites Tottenham Hotspur looked to have it all figured last week against Inter. They allowed the home side to have the majority of the ball, but struck when it counted and to take the lead in the first half. But it all fell apart in the last fifteen when the North Londoners conceded, first to a scorching Mauro Icardi volley, and then in a man-marking disaster in the box well into injury time.
If Spurs want to progress from arguably the hardest group in the competition, also featuring the likes of Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven, they’ll have to show more guile and more maturity.
They host Barça at Wembley on Wednesday night (20.00 BST) and will have to demonstrate the kind of authority that saw them get the better of Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid last season. Otherwise, it’ll be over all too soon for Spurs.
If you’re having a hard time keeping up, or you’re not sure of who’s going where and on what day the official UEFA Champions League schedule keeps every match consistently updated with dates, kick off times, and added info to keep fans in the know.
Written by: Adam Grimshaw