What Went Wrong For Arsenal And Manchester United In The Opening Round Of Champions League Games?

The Champions League did not turn up to be the greatest hunting ground for most of the English clubs in its return. Three out of England’s four representatives lost in the opening fixtures and many questions were asked about the quality of the teams from the so-called ‘best league in the world’. Manchester United, on their return to Europe’s premier club competition, were outwitted by PSV despite dominating the game. Manchester City cannot seem to exorcise the ghosts from playing in the Champions League as they were defeated by Juventus at home and Arsenal showed their brittleness as they lost 2-1 to Dinamo Zagreb.

Not enough quality or a lack of tactical nous?

At one time in the Champions League, it was the English clubs who were dominating, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United were constantly making the semi-finals of the competition but now teams can’t even seem to make it past the round of 16, as Arsenal have seen over the years.

The Premier League might be the richest league in the world and might attract some of the most talented footballers in the world. but a lack of tactical awareness seems to be hurting the teams more than expected. Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City were all found wanting in that department, especially City who were outdone by a lot of good work by Juventus.

Manchester United did dominate their tie, but the movement of PSV was often catching the English club out. Arsenal might have gotten away with their performance but the petulance of Olivier Giroud got the better of them as he was sent off in the tie against Zagreb, in fact if any club came out with a little positive news it has to be Chelsea, who got their season somewhat back on track with a 4-0 over Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

You could make a strong case for the English clubs as both the Manchester sides were missing their talismanic strikers in Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero but everyone harps about the quality of the league and taking out two world class players surely cannot make either team that much weaker. The pressing issue for Arsenal and United would be that they ended up playing a couple of easier teams in the group, there will be tougher test for both sides and ending up losing their first game of the group doesn’t send out the best vibes for the team or supporters.

There still is a bright side to all this though, Manchester United did dominate their tie and could have won the game had they taken their chances. Arsenal probably could have gotten something out of the game if it wasn’t for the red card and Manchester City shouldn’t fret too much after pulling off a miraculous escape from their group last time as well.

The Champions League still has five more games for each of the teams and thinking that the English clubs cannot fix their issues would be an insult to them. England not having all four representatives in the next round will surely be a disaster and it isn’t like that has not happened in the recent past, Liverpool and Manchester City fans will remember.

Written by Saiyed Adeem Karim

Ditching a corporate job to follow a dream isn’t easy, but when football comes calling, who can say no? Been following the beautiful game since 1998. FIFA addict, F1 fanatic.
Follow me @bonbonkayzee

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