A Look at the English Clubs in the Champions League
Champions Football Speakers Agency takes a look the this season's English clubs involved in the UEFA Champions League. We preview the chances of Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool as the clubs embark on a journey to European glory.
The group stages of the 2018/2019 Champions League are underway as the four English teams in the competition are bidding to bring European glory back to England for the first time since 2011-12. Last season’s finalists, Liverpool are joined by Premier League champions Manchester City as well as Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United for this season’s campaign in Europe’s most prestigious competition. Let’s take a look at how each team got on and explore the merits of each:
Agonisingly falling short at the final hurdle of last season’s competition, Liverpool FC will attempt to go one better this year and will use the experience of the heartbreak sustained to motivate them even more this year. Jurgen Klopp has put together a magnificent team that seem to shine in the Champions League, playing with confidence and flamboyance to deliver an exhilarating style of play.
Klopp cited a lack of depth as a major issue in European football last year and the club have attempted to resolve this with the signings of Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri, two brilliant attacking additions to an already successful side. Having already registered a (3-2) win against one of the tournament favourites, (Paris Saint-Germain, the Merseyside club have got off to the perfect start and will now have to contend with Red Star Belgrade and Napoli as they bid to top the group.
The Anfield club will, as usual, make full use of their incredible home support. The Kop will act as the 12th man in hope of driving their team to glory and add to the five Champions League titles they have already won. With one of the most threatening and prolific front threes in the world, the likes of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and last year’s standout player, Mo Salah will once again look to cause problems for the opposition.
A gaping hole in Liverpool FC’s club had been its solidarity at the back however record signing Virgil Van Dijk has been worth every penny, showing his worth on a consistent basis, the dominant centre back has been a focal point that the club has lacked since the retirement of Liverpool FC legend and football speaker Jamie Carragher. The likes of James Milner and Daniel Sturridge also add vital impetus and indispensable characteristics to the side complimenting not only the clubs attacking ability but also its consistency over the course of a long season. Roberto Firmino looks every bit the world class striker he has been touted as and his phenomenal goal epitomised his outstanding attacking prowess that will prove to be crucial in Liverpool’s pursuit of silverware. The addition of Keita and Shaqiri have also addressed the lack of depth on the clubs bench and this kind of quality could make the difference throughout a gruelling and challenging campaign, a huge contrast to Liverpool teams of the past. Klopp’s men look a force in not only the Premier League but also the UEFA Champions League.
Mo Salah – Despite struggling to make a significant impact so far this season, it is impossible to look past this fantastic forward who was a revelation and cult figure last year and widely considered by many as the best player in the world.
The reigning Premier League champions and powerhouses of English football, Manchester City will be looking to emulate last season’s league glory, as well as have major success in Europe this year. Having been knocked out by Liverpool in one of the most action-packed ties in UEFA Champions League history, Pep Guardiola’s men will be out for revenge as they try and assert their authority on European football.
Placed in the easiest groups of the four English clubs, at least on the surface, Manchester City suffered a shock loss to Lyon (2-1) in the opening game of the campaign and will look to immediately rectify any problems and get back on track. A sluggish Man City paid the ultimate price for their poor performance and with a manager and board who demand perfection, expect a big reaction from the players in the next fixture. For a team that have been so dominant over the last 12 months and are filled with star players from across the globe, City looked helpless and were missing their manager, Pep Guardiola to suspension.
Forced to watch the game from the stands as a result of his sending off against Liverpool FC in last season’s competition, the managerial genius was unable to impact a game in which his team looked so desperate. With a substitutes bench that is worth more than a number of teams in the competition, the world class outfit will need to bounce back from this small scare. Though they still firmly remain one of the favourites to win the prestigious tournament.
Pep Guardiola- A surprising choice considering the names and talent that City possess, without the expertise and guidance of their manager the matchwinners look lost and it seems as though Guardiola’s experience and tactical brilliance will be a key factor in his teams’ fate. Let’s not forget the success Pep has had in Europe before and in football as a whole, winning 21 trophies in just three seasons not all too long ago.
Heavily criticised for their lack of activity in the summer transfer window having not made a single acquisition, this season is becoming an uphill battle for Tottenham Hotspur who lost three matches on the bounce, when they fell to Inter Milan (2-1) at the San Siro in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. In a difficult group, Tottenham have to contend with Inter Milan and Barcelona for a place in the top two of the group. The fourth team in the group will be no pushover either, PSV Eindhoven have a proud history as a club and could pose yet another problem for the London club.
There are suggestions that Spurs World Cup Golden Boot winner was unable to alter his club’s fortunes and failed to score in the three fixtures before this weekend’s win at Brighton, perhaps no coincidence is his side’s three consecutive losses. A home tie against Barcelona next Wednesday could prove decisive. Should Spurs fail pick up any points, it will become increasing difficult for them to qualify after only two games. It has also been a testing time off the pitch for manager and football speaker Mauricio Pochettino as the club have not experienced such a bad run in the past few seasons. A tactical tweak and shift in mindset might be required if they hope to change their fortunes and qualify from what looks to be a very challenging Group B.
Harry Kane- Perhaps unsurprisingly, the fate and fortunes of the club seem to once again fall in the hands of the captain. A wonderful player and prolific goalscorer, when Kane fails to score his team often lose. A large burden on still relatively young shoulders, though if one man can do it you would think Kane can, having already achieved so much in his career.
Last but most certainly not least, arguably English football’s most prestigious club, Manchester United will be looking to add to the three UEFA Champions League titles they have previously won. Managed by the mercurial Jose Mourinho, the manager has certainly had success in Europe and the club will look to draw upon that in their bid for the trophy. Problems in the transfer market lead to minimal activity. On the surface the Old Trafford club look as though they could be lacking, however, midfielder and captain, Paul Pogba has continued his fine form after his victorious World Cup victory by leading his side to a routine 3-0 win over Young Boys.
With a difficult Group H, United will have to contend with the ever consistent Valencia and Italian giants Juventus in a bid for qualification. The eye watering salary paid to Chilean striker, Alexis Sanchez has yet to prove a shrewd investment and one feels his performances must improve should the club hope to challenge in this seasons UEFA Champions League. With so much attention paid to manager and football speaker Mourinho, the notorious character’s performance and behaviour off the field could have a huge impact to his side fortunes on it.
A squad that looks too thin to realistically contend for the title and European glory, they will soon be faced with the daunting challenge that Juventus pose, aided by former Manchester United star, Cristiano Ronaldo who is now expected to be available following a one match ban due to his red card against Valencia. Ultimately it is never wise to write of Manchester United who have success in their DNA. A club with a lot to prove and with high expectations, Mourinho and his players will have to unite and play at their collective best to challenge in this season’s UEFA Champions League.
Paul Pogba - The incredibly talented midfielder and French international has been linked with a move away from the club to Spanish giants or a return to former club and upcoming opponents Juventus. Despite the ongoing speculation regarding his future, Pogba is a leader and world class performer capable of controlling and winning games of football. A pivotal figure with a huge personality, Paul Pogba is sure to be a major figure in United’s season. If he is close to peak performance, Manchester United will benefit considerably.
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