By Niall Clarke
- Manchester City lose 2-1 at home to Juventus
- Manchester United lose 2-1 away at PSV Eindhoven
- Chelsea and Arsenal will play on Wednesday
It was a poor night for Manchester as both of their clubs suffered 2-1 defeats in the opening fixtures of the UEFA Champions League group stages.
City fell to Italian Champions and last year’s runners-up Juventus, whilst Louis Van Gaal’s return to Holland ended in a 2-1 defeat to Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven.
It will be up to Chelsea and Arsenal to restore some pride into the Premier League when they kick off their campaigns on Wednesday.
Manchester City 1-2 Juventus.
There was a renewed confidence in the Blue half of Manchester. The Citizens had struggled in European competition in the past, but after a perfect start to the Premier League season many thought it was time to make a run to the latter stages.
What they did not bank on was a resilient Juventus side, who many expected to struggle this year due to key players leaving over the summer. The Old Lady looked a different side to the one that has struggled to pick up points in their Serie A title defence thus far.
The Italian champions had the first major chance when Paul Pogba’s header was disallowed due to offside. The Frenchman was not the one in the offside position however. Alvaro Morata had previously lunged (but missed) the ball which is classed as interfering with play under the new rules.
After a goaless first half, City would press for an opener at the start of the second. That is precisely what they got, albeit in controversial fashion. Vincent Kompany seemingly rose above Giorgio Chiellini to nod home the first goal of the evening, but replays showed that the Manchester City captain illegally climbed above the Juventus defender who headed into his own goal.
The Italian champions responded positively and they found themselves level 20 minutes from time. Pogba provided a perfect cross which found the boot of the lunging Mario Mandzukic who had lost his marker at the far post. Juventus had their tales up and nine minutes from time they found themselves in the lead. Morata, who was the hero in the semi-finals last season, sent a curling effort from 25 yards past Joe Hart breaking the hearts of City supporters.
There was still time to perhaps overturn the deficit, Gianluigi Buffon was forced into a fine save late on but the premier League leaders could not find another way through the Italian’s defence. As the full time whistle sounded, Manuel Pellegrini’s side slumped to yet another European defeat as their struggles in the Champions League continues.
It is much documented that Manchester City struggle to adapt in the greatest club competition on earth, but the reasons are somewhat of a mystery. Is it mental, tactical, or are they just plainly not good enough? All we know is that they were second best today against Juventus.
Though, Pellegrini feels that his side was the better on the night.
“It’s disappointing, I don’t think we deserved to lose. We had better chances and played better than Juventus. It was a typical Champions League game, both teams didn’t create many chances but we had more possession. It was not a tactical problem, Juventus just scored two beautiful goals.” The Chilean told BT Sport
PSV Eindhoven 2-1 Manchester United
The sentiments around Old Trafford was this should be an easy group to progress from. But they were given a rude awakening by Dutch champions PSV who came from behind to defeat the Red Devils 2-1 in the Phillips Arena.
For all the goals and action on the field it was an unfortunate injury to Luke Shaw that overshadowed the result. The England left back was suspected to have broken his leg after a lunging tackle by Hector Moreno on 15 minutes. Shaw was stretchered off after receiving eight minutes worth of treatment. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Thank you everyone for your messages , words can’t describe how gutted I am , my road to recovery starts now, I will come back stronger.
— Luke Shaw (@LukeShaw23) September 15, 2015
It would be Van Gaal’s men that would take the lead. Memphis Depay showed clever feet to take out two defenders before lashing home the opener on his old stomping ground. It looked for all the world that United would add a second, but they were dealt a huge blow by villain of the day Moreno who headed home from a corner just before half time.
The Red Devils were in control of the match but still managed to let their lead slip in the second half. Good work by Andres Guardado down the left flank resulted in a cross which found Luciano Narsingh who headed the Dutch champions in to a 2-1 lead.
PSV would hang on as United searched for an equaliser. It would not come though and the full time whistle signalled that the Premier League clubs go 0/2 on the night.
Manchester United boss, van Gaal spoke of Shaw’s injury to BT Sport. “It is awful. The boy is in his second season and he has been playing fantastic. And now this happens.
“He had the oxygen mask on and was crying in the dressing room. You must judge for yourself. If I say it was a penalty and a red card then I am a bad loser.
“It was a very bad tackle.”
Once again a troubling night for the Premier League clubs in Europe. The English clubs have struggled for a number of seasons in both the Champions and Europa League and two defeats have done nothing to ensure that this season will be any different. Despite the hype from media outlets in this country, one must take a step back and wonder if the Premier League is really all that?
Sevilla 3-0 Borussia Monchengladbach
Wolfsburg 1-0 CSKA Moscow
Benfica 2-0 Astana
Galatasaray 0-2 Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid 4-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
PSG 2-0 Malmo
The Champions League continues on Wednesday with Arsenal and Chelsea kicking off their campaigns.