UCL: Manchester United and Chelsea begin their European campaigns

Manchester United and Chelsea begin their UEFA Champions League campaigns this week, against BSC Young Boys and Zenit St Petersburg, respectively.

United will be looking to get their group stage off to a good start, after going unbeaten so far in the Premier League. In 2020/21 the Red Devils fell out of the UCL in the group stage as they lost to Paris St Germain and RB Leipzig in consecutive games.

This year, their group includes BSC Young Boys, who they face first, Italians Atalanta and Spain’s Villareal, who got the better of the Manchester club in last year’s Europa League final – a match that was decided by penalties.

United will be buoyed by the fact they now have the UCL’s all-time top goalscorer in Cristiano Ronaldo, to help them get out of the group stage and on the charge for trophies once again, especially this one that’s been a distant reach from Old Trafford since 2008.

Despite their extra help, they will be without Edinson Cavani for the first matchday, as the Uruguayan has a “minor injury”.

The current Premier League leaders will be confident going into the European encounter as they do not have to contend with the likes of PSG in this year’s group, but if they fail to come out of the group, there will be a lot of pressure on the Red Devils and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Chelsea look to start their Champions League title defence 

Fresh off their second UCL title in their history, Chelsea looks to go back to back in this year’s tournament.

Chelsea have an arguably more difficult group than Man United, as they have to face Juventus, but get somewhat easier games against Russian side Zenit St Petersburg and Malmo of Sweden.

In their first group game, the Blues take on Zenit at Stamford Bridge, but will continue to be without midfielder N’Golo Kante and American forward Christian Pulisic, as the pair recover from ankle injuries.

Chelsea should have no issues navigating their way out of this group, especially after the summer coup of last seasons Serie A winner, Romelu Lukaku.

Look for their game against Juventus to be the big decider for the top spot of their group.