The 2020-2021 Champions league group stage is set to kick off tonight, with some of the top guns in Europe’s football league set to battle it out for the much coveted trophy. The most attractive match would definitely be the PSG vs Manchester United set in Paris, while Sevilla travel to London to face Chelsea.
One noticeable trait across Europe’s top leagues this season is how the big teams have struggled and had slow starts to their domestic season, which has brought up a feeling that we would be in for a shocker this season in the Champions League.
Chelsea have added enough firepower to their ranks, but have still struggled to seal off games, conceding unnecessarily, picking up where they left off this season. The addition of Thiago Silva was expected to help the Blues at the back, while he hasn’t played much, they’ll need him to be at the top of his game, having conceded nine goals in five premier league games.
The Injury of Virgil Van Dijk would probably be the worst thing to happen to Liverpool this season. They’ve only kept one clean sheet this season, and now their main defender and leader is out injured, they’d be relying heavily on their attacks and hope to outscore their first opponents, Ajax.
If there’s any team that could pull a shocker, your money should be on Atalanta. They’re currently third in the Serie A, and the return of star man Ilicic would prove vital in only their second ever Champions League campaign.
Messi and Ronaldo appear to be at the end of their illustrious careers. Ronaldo is currently out due to COVID-19 protocols, and Juventus would rely on their inexperienced coach Andre Pirlo, while Dybala and Morata would be leading the lines. Barcelona on the other hand are somewhat disjointed, but then they have the greatest player ever, so there’s always hope for them, nonetheless the issues at the club could prove costly on the pitch.
Manchester United are in the group of death, alongside PSG, Leipzig and Instabul Basaksehi. Failure to strengthen their side could prove costly and take a toll on the players, with the possibility of an early exit.
It is guaranteed that the top guns aren’t fully at their best and the smaller teams would be looking to take advantage of the situation right now. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see one of the big teams not making it past the group stage.
By Muyiwa Aguda
see also: Bayern Munich Champions League Winners