Champions league is back to stage, as 16 clubs will kick off today their first match in the most prestigious European club competition. Some of the most interesting encounters feature PSG, Arsenal, Barcelona, Man City and Atletico Madrid. It is surely worth mentioning, that three of four tournament favorites – Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City – are set to start their journeys to the final in Glasgow.
Wenger’s yet another attempt in UCL or Unai “Europa league” Emery’s adventures in Paris
Arsene Wenger is testing Arsenal fans’ patience, as the French manager promises to bring success back to London every year, but FA Cup and FA Community Shield won’t satisfy the demand anyway. The Gunners want to see Arsenal’s glory in England, again, and what is more important, in Europe, too. Wenger’s side was a step from winning the UCL in 2006, and since then the club didn’t even get close to this stage.
Arsenal have received a good addition to their squad as Shkodran Mustafi, Granit Xhaka, Lucas Perez landed in London. These three players can surely add some more power to the Gunners’ engine. Moreover, it seems that the team’s main leaders are fit and ready to take the responsibility on their shoulders.
Despite failures in first two matches in Premier league (3-4 vs Liverpool, 0-0 vs Leicester), Arsenal managed to catch the winning rhythm and earned 6 points against Watford and Southampton. Although they defeated Soton only thanks to a late penalty, Wenger’s team had a huge advantage in terms of possession and player’s co-understanding.
PSG, on the other hand, live hard days as Unai Emery‘s side didn’t manage to win their latest two matches in France. After losing to Monaco 3-1, the Parisians were held by Saint-Etienne in the most recent match.
Unai Emery, who came to replace Laurent Blanc, is still unable to find the necessary balance in his team. They’ve had some major additions this summer. Grzegorz Krychowiak made a company to Emery, as the defensive midfielder joins PSG from Sevilla. Moreover, Real Madrid starlet Jese Rodriguez opted to play regularly in France instead of warmimg the bench in Madrid. However, the early impression is that he is yet to discover his role.
Unai Emery, who is known for his ability to win the Europa league, is expected to succeed in the senior European tournament, too. Neither Nasser Al-Khelaifi, nor the fans will remember his 3 consecutive Europea league cups if PSG fails to record good run in UCL.
Barcelona to host Celtic… again
Camp Nou will be the venue where this year’s Champions league favorites Barcelona (odds are 4.00 acc. to Vbet), as they will meet Celtic. The Catalan side has to win back fans’ love after the terrible Saturday night, when they lost to Alaves. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen who missed that match due to hamstring injury, is back to training and is expected to occupy his place in starting lineup, while Jasper Cillessen will be benched.
Moreover, Luis Enrique is expected to recover his attacking trident Messi-Suarez-Neymar, as his side obviously missed their attacking power and virtue. Denis Suárez, Aleix Vidal, Jérémy Mathieu and Jordi Masip were left out of the call, while Samuel Umtiti can make his Champions league debut with the Blaugranas.
Barcelona is fifth in La Liga, as they are 3 points behind leaders Real Madrid. Celtic, meanwhile, is leading in Scotland Premiership after 5 rounds, despite playing one game less. They have a 100% result, and travel to Spain with good mood and in great form.
The Celts’ captain Scott Brown is already fit and ready to lead his team to the pitch against Barcelona. The Scottish champions will have to miss Leigh Griffiths, who is still recovering from a hamstring tear.
Celtic and Barcelona are meeting in Champions League quite often, as they were in the same group in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013. They have played 12 matches overall, where Barca won 7 times, 3 matches ended with a draw, while Celtic were better in two occasions.
Carlo Ancelotti to kick off UCL 15/16 against surprise member FC Rostov
No on would expect to see FC Rostov in the Champions league group stage this year, if you asked about it 2 months earlier. Despite their strong game in Russia, where they finished second just behind CSKA and ahead of giants like Zenit, Krasnodar and Spartak, the UCL draw was harsh against them. They were given Anderlecht in the Q3 round, and in case of victory they would meet Ajax. Everyone was in fear in Russia, except for the club and players themselves. First, they kicked the Belgian side out of the tournament (1-1, 2-0), and then trashed Ajax on aggregate (1-1, 4-1).
Bayern Munich, on their side, are one of the strongest teams in the whole tournament. They have had a managerial change as Carlo Ancelotti arrives to replace Pep Guardiola, who failed to win UCL 3 years in a row. Ancelotti had some major summer signings, as Mats Hummels returns to his home club, and Eurpean champion Renato Sanches is expected to make a step forward and prove those high expectations related to him.
Pep Guardiola got rid of Germany, but not the Deutsch opponents
Pep Guardiola is called to Manchester City to finally transform investments into results. Man City investors are expecting to see some European glory and the Spaniard is an ideal candidate for this task. The club has already won Premier league in recent years, but their journey in Europe always has turbulent zones. They were close to the final last year, though were stopped by future champions Real Madrid in semis. This year, the Citizens have signed a few top-class players like John Stones, Nolito and Claudio Bravo.
Pep Guariola’s knowledge of the German football will surely serve as a helping hand against Borussia Monchengladbach along with their recent success in Manchester derby, where De Bruyne‘s and Iheanacho‘s goals put Man Utd on knees.
Monchengladbach reach this match after a 3-1 defeat against Freiburg. In spite of scoring first thanks to Thorgan Hazard, Freiburg managed not only to level the score but also take the lead and win.
Other matches of the day
Basel – Ludogorets
Benfica – Besiktas
Dynamo Kiev – Napoli
PSV – Atletico Madrid