By Niall Clarke
- The UEFA Champions League kicks off on Tuesday
- Manchester City host Juventus whilst Manchester United travel to PSV
- Chelsea and Arsenal kick off their campaigns on Wednesday
Manchester United and Manchester City kick off their UEFA Champions League campaigns on Tuesday with difficult opening games to PSV and Juventus respectively.
Both Manchester clubs will be in action on Tuesday evening, whilst Chelsea and Arsenal will open up their tournament on Wednesday.
The Premier League clubs will be looking to bounce back after a disastrous few seasons in Europe since Chelsea won the title back in 2012.
Manchester City vs Juventus.
Bad look seems to follow the Citizen’s year by year as yet again they have been drawn a tough group. Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach are difficult tests within themselves, but the opener see’s Manuel Pellegrini’s men welcome last year’s finalists Juventus to the Ethiad Stadium.
City have been the outstanding team in the Premier League so far, winning their opening five games. But the main target this season will be a strong European run. Despite their seemingly unlimited bank funds and big spending over recent years, the Blue half of Manchester have yet to see a Champions League quarter final. Whether you chalk it down to bad luck with the draw or City just not being good enough, it has certainly been a disappointment.
City will be without talisman Sergio Aguero, who has been ruled out due an injury sustained in the weekend victory over Crystal Palace. The Argentinian is set to be replaced by Wilfried Bony in the starting 11. David Silva and Raheem Sterling are expected to be back in action after missing Saturday’s trip to Selhurst Park, whilst Samir Nasri and Fernandinho should shake off minor knocks.
Kevin De Bruyne could make his first start after impressing as a substitute against Palace, but midfielder Fabian Delph and full-backs Gael Clichy and Pablo Zabaleta are still out.
Whilst City have been perfect with their league form thus far, Juventus have been almost the exact opposite. The Italian Champions have only picked up one point in their opening three games of their title defence after a 1-1 draw at Chievo over the weekend.
The Old Lady lost key players Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez over the summer and are clearly missing their influence. Their form does not bode well as they look to repeat last season’s exploits. Massimiliano Allegri’s men made the final in Berlin back in May, but ultimately would swept aside by a brilliant Barcelona 3-1.
Midfielder Claudio Marchisio will miss the trip to Manchester after being ruled out of action for a month. The Italy international suffered an injury to his left abductor over the weekend.
Key losses over the summer might have weakened Juventus on paper but they still possess a stubborn test for any side. Midfield sensation Paul Pogba will be key to their success as he looks to fill in the sizeable gap left by Vidal and Pirlo. Giorgio Chiellini leads a strong back line that was critical to their success last season, and with Mario Mandzukic up front you have a proven striker at this level.
PSV Eindhoven vs Manchester United
The red half of Manchester will be relishing their return to the UEFA Champions League after missing out last season. United will be tackling the competition under Louis Van Gaal’s guidance for the first time as they attempt to repeat the glory of 2008 and 1999.
When the draw was made, United supporters were relieved to see that their team had been drawn alongside PSV, arguably the weakest side in pot one. It will be fair to say that the Red Devils will ‘fancy their chances’ to reach the knockout stages, but first they must turn their attentions towards an away trip to the Dutch Champions, and the United manager is expecting a tough test in Eindhoven.
Like their noisy neighbours, Van Gaal’s men will be without their main striker on Tuesday. Wayne Rooney has been ruled with a hamstring injury after missing the 3-1 victory at home to Liverpool on Saturday. Therefore striker James Wilson is in the squad along with midfielder’s midfielder Andreas Pereira and Memphis Depay, who are returning to the Phillip’s stadium for the first time since they left the club in the summer.
PSV have begun their Eredivisie defence with three wins and two draws in their opening five games, including a 6-0 thrashing of a sorry Cambuur side over the weekend. The Dutch champions are managed by former Netherlands international Phillip Cocu who played under Van Gaal at Barcelona. The pair will re-unite when their respective sides take to the field to begin their Group B match on Tuesday.
With £250 million spent since the Dutchman’s arrival, many will be expecting United to make another big challenge in Europe, but Van Gaal does not know what to expect with his expensively assembled squad in the Champions League.
Full Fixtures for Tuesday 15th September
Kick off times 19:45 unless stated
Wolfsburg vs CSKA Moscow
Man City vs Juventus
Benfica vs FC Astana
Real Madrid vs Shakhtar Donetsk
Paris Saint-Germain vs Malmo
Sevilla vs Borussia Mönchengladbach
PSV Eindhoven vs Man United
Galatasaray vs Atlético Madrid
Both Manchester City and Manchester United will kick off on Tuesday night at 19:45 BST.