Man United, City Highest Hopes for England in Champions League

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By Eduard Banulescu

England boasts five teams in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League competition, which commences in just a couple hours. That’s more than any other country and it comes benefiting the Manchester United triumph in the Europa League last season. It awarded Jose Mourinho’s team an automatic place in the group stage of the UCL, an objective they would not have been able to meet by their Premier League performance alone.

The other four teams finished the season in one of the top four places, in one of the EPL’s most toughly disputed contests in recent seasons.

The English Premier League has become perhaps the most attractive of the European leagues in recent years, with many of the most famous managers and players joining the ranks and boosting the competition’s image.

Expectations are naturally high and the five qualified teams will need to prove themselves outside of Britain. Let’s briefly analyze each one.

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Chelsea

The London club is the last English side to win the competition; back in 2012. It’s well known that owner Roman Abramovich made the decision to begin investing in European football with the desire for his newly acquired team to win the continent’s top prize. Manager Antonio Conte hasn’t made many changes to the first team, the highest profile move being Alvaro Morata’s arrival as replacement for the estranged Diego Costa.

There is an air of uncertainty about the team and it’s not helped by the fact that they’ve been handed a tough grouping, where they’ll be battling Roma and Atletico Madrid for the two qualifying places. The Blues are still expected to go through, or at worst, become the newest example of a team eliminated from the Champions League who goes on to challenge for the Europa League trophy.

Sky Bet Champions League outright title odds: 14/1

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Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs strongest point seems to be their stability; as they have offered consistent performances above expectations, and sometimes achieving more than their wealthier, more famous rivals.

A team filled with exciting talent at all positions, they could produce a pleasant surprise. Then again, the team lacks the experience in this competition of their group rivals. They will clash with current UCL holders Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Apoel. There would be few raised eyebrows should the team finish third and be relegated to the Europa League.

Sky Bet Champions League outright title odds: n/a

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Liverpool

Manager Jurgen Klopp has managed to bring Liverpool back to the Champions League after a three-year wait. Fans are excited by their manager and the team, but consistency has not been the team’s strong suit. Fortunately, the Reds have been handed a relatively easy group alongside Spartak Moscow, Sevilla and Maribor and they really should qualify to the next stage. Liverpool has been known to show good motivation against top sides, so once in the knockout rounds, it’s anybody’s guess.

Sky Bet Champions League outright title odds: 22/1

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Manchester City

When Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City there was an unspoken promise that he would ascend the club to a higher level and challenge for the Champions League trophy. The first season was a relative disappointment, which lead the club to heavily investing in transfers meant to bring City in among Europe’s most elite clubs.

The season has started well enough for City and they’re expected to comfortably qualify from a group that includes Napoli, Shakhtar Donetsk and Feyenoord. On their best day City is certainly capable of taking on any European team and could make their way to the final stages of the competition.

Sky Bet Champions League outright title odds: 11/1

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Manchester United

Jose Mourinho, similar to Guardiola, arrived in Manchester with hopes that he’ll become the club’s savior. The first season was slightly below par. The Red Devils have improved their squad and started the season very well though. There have even been those claiming United may boast Europe’s top squad, noting their great depth. Man United is unlikely to have much trouble getting through in a group that features Benfica, FC Basel and CSKA Moscow.

Sky Bet Champions League outright title odds: 11/1

Eduard Banulescu is a European football fan, writer and musician. He contributes music, sports and cryptocurrency articles on www.footballcoin.io and www.alt77.com. He hopes you enjoy the quality of his articles here at The Sports Bank.

 

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