Champions league: Is this the year of PSG or City?
|Barcelona have the chance to revenge for their humiliating defeat to Bayern when they face each other at Camp Nou on Tuesday. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
The UEFA Champions league returns and it’s a different feel this year, the return of the fans and the need for some teams that invested heavily or have real need to impress on the continental stage or even both, you might insert PSG and Manchester City here if you wish.
Speaking of PSG, they have reinforced intelligently and impressively too, they missed out narrowly two years ago when they lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich in the final and at the semis last season where they lost against Manchester City, they have everything they need to go further this season, will they?
Lionel Messi joined from Barcelona with a wealth of experience, so does Gini Wijnaldum and a serial winner, Sergio Ramos, there will never be a better time for PSG to go all the way and land the UCL trophy, is now their time?
And then Manchester City, making the final for the first time ever and bottling it to Chelsea’s Kai Havertz goal, from the manager’s weird decision to face the final without a single recognized DM, leaving N’golo Kante with the room to disrupt everything City threw at them and the rest is history.
If there’s one reason there are some doubts around Pep Guardiola’s credentials, it would be his search for the holy grail of European football that has eluded him since he left Barcelona, he was mighty close last season but that’s the end of that, he has another chance this season, he has to take it.
The reigning champions Chelsea will be up there again this season, their squad is rich enough to compete, the acquisition of Romelu Lukaku adds the missing link and they just might do a Madrid and win it back to back.
What fixture are we excited about?
Feels weird that a Barcelona vs Bayern Munich game would be discussed without the subject of Lionel Messi coming to play; Barcelona will host Bayern and it looks like a one sided game on paper, there’s a lot of clouds over the position of Ronald Koeman but outside that, there’s a huge void left by Messi.
Bayern themselves are in transition but they seem to be doing fine, the last time they met Barcelona in the competition, it was a rout and a night to forget for the Catalan side, are we going to be treated to lots of goals again?
Barcelona are without a host of names with their only hope on Memphis Depay, they can’t call on Sergio Aguero or Martin Braithwaite, Ousman Dembele is injured and they will have to cope with whatever Bayern throw at them.
Liverpool vs AC Milan?
What do we expect from the ancient European sides? Both have interesting history between them, two finals, shared equally in different circumstances and both sides having different reasons to bring their best forward, but is the champions league the priority for Liverpool?
Even the Milan side want some domestic relevance, they haven’t won the Scudetto in well over a decade and their rise last season can only be crowned with the title this term, but they will show some glimpses of what to expect from them when they face the Kops.
The red half of Manchester
Cristiano Ronaldo is the man to talk about, back in red after twelve years and it was like he never left, a brace and a wonderful showing to cap it off, Young Boys will feel his wrath and he’d be part of the United side that will try to take their pound of flesh from Villareal.
Atalanta is the last team in Group F where United are, the Italians are struggling in the league, lost again over the weekend to Fiorentina and will want to start their champions league campaign strongly away at Villareal, it’s a tricky group but on paper, the Italians are behind the Europa Cup winners.