Europe’s biggest club competition is back. It’s the 3rd matchday of the UEFA Champions League and it brings with it new challenges and exciting fixtures. These are still early stages in the competition, but the Champions league has never been short on drama and excitement from Chelsea’s first Champions league title win to Real Madrid’s 10th, from Liverpool’s iconic comeback to Terry in tears after the missed penalty in the final against Manchester United.
Thus, we have prepared a list of the things to look forward to in this week’s clash of Europe’s best clubs.
1. Clash of the titans
This week’s fixtures include some thrilling matches like Arsenal vs Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid and Manchester City vs Sevilla. These matches are sure to be a treat for the football fans with high profile stars ruling the roost in the above-mentioned teams. You have the likes Cristiano Ronaldo pinned against Zlatan Ibrahimovic, it will be a showdown between Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola and it will be a test of time for City as they face a vigorous Spanish side with most of their players injured. So here are the reasons why these matches are going to be the most interesting matches on matchday 3.
-> Arsenal vs Bayern Munich
In the recent past whenever Arsenal has played Bayern Munich, the latter has emerged victorious and Pep Gurdiola’s team right now is nothing short of unstoppable and this does not bode well for Wenger’s men. Arsenal hasn’t won a single game in their group and this match is extremely crucial to ensure their survival in the tournament. This being a home game Arsenal has to cash in on the ‘home advantage’ factor and make most of the opportunity. Arsenal will come into this match on the backs of a win and would want to keep the momentum with them. But standing in their way are Pep Guardiola’s men who have been playing a different class of football. They have played 13 games this season winning 12 of them.
-> Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid
Two of the biggest clubs in Europe, with two of the biggest superstars in the world on the two teams, this is going to be one crackerjack of a game. Both the clubs come into this game with impressive records in the season so far. Both boast of a strong defense and lethal attack. But the thing to see in this match is who will rise up to the occasion when the time comes. It will be a delight because Madrid haven’t lost an away game in the group stage in this competition since the 2012-13 season and, on the other hand, it is PSG’s home turf and they have won 8 matches of their nine outings.
-> Manchester City vs Sevilla
The English giants face former Europa league champions Sevilla with both the teams tied on points in their group. Though City might seem to be clear favourites in this fixture, the important thing here is that most of Pellagrini’s frontrunners would be sitting out the match because of injuries. Without the likes of Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri, David Silva, Alexander Kolarov, Fabian Delph, and Gael Clichy, an emerging Spanish team like Sevilla that found a place in the competition because of its successes in the Europa League can prove to be a major threat.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo vs Robert Lewandowski
This matchday will be the showdown between Cristiano Roanldo who has just won his 4th golden boot and Robert Lewandowski whose recent exploits have just been exceptional. these two are the highest goal scorers in the competition till now, with Lewandowski having scored 3 goals in comparison to Roanldo’s 5. On one hand, you have worldwide superstar whose consistency is scoring goals in unmatched and on the other you have the German Machine who can score % goals in the span of 9 minutes.
3. Tricky matches
These are the matches that have the potential to be the ‘upsets’ of the tournament. Dynamo Kyiv vs Chelsea and CSKA Moscow vs Manchester United are the two matches that will be interesting to watch. In the case of Kyiv vs Chelsea, Chelsea looks like the favourites but according to the points they are 1 point behind Kyiv and Kyiv is the leader of group G. Also Dynamo boast of an exceptional record at home and it is considered to be their fortress. So, Chelsea, have their task cut out for them and it will be interesting to see what Mourinho pulls out of his bag. Furthermore when we look at the fixture of CSKA Moscow vs Manchester United, here again, the English side appears supreme. But United don’t have a good record with Russian teams and also CSKA Moscow have a share of fighting against English clubs, last year in the match against Manchester City they came back from a 2 goal deficit to end the match in a 2-2 draw.
This week also a couple of reunions are on the cards as Real Madrid face PSG and Manchester City face Sevilla. Angel Di Maria will face his former club for the first time after his record transfer and the same goes for Jesus Navas who will play against his former club Sevilla. Maria Says he will not celebrate if he scores against Madrid and Navas has called Sevilla to be his ‘everything in sporting terms’! Its sport at its best this week.
5. Going all out
This is a special mention for the fix that Arsenal is in. Having put no points on the board this week’s fixture is immensely crucial for Arsene Wenger’s team to continue their journey in this competition. If Arsenal loses the match against Bayern Munich they might as well say goodbye to the Champions League. So to avoid expulsion from Europe’s prestigious competition, Arsenal have to go all out and keep the attacking force of Munich in the face of Lewandowski and Muller at bay and put full thrust on an all out attack. Otherwise gods help them!