After a poor showing in last year’s Champions League the pedigree of English clubs on the European stage was called into question. This season has seen major upheaval in the country’s top sides but the question mark still hangs over their chances in the competition this time around.
Premier League winners Manchester United have seen David Moyes appointed manager and the expectations on the Scotsman will be like nothing he has experienced before. There is undoubted quality in the side but the failure to add any star players will quietly concern, especially with the Wayne Rooney saga still rumbling on. With Moyes relatively inexperienced in European competitions it is going to be a tough ask for them this year.
Chelsea have seen Jose Mourinho return and there is a sense of ambition about the coming season. With new additions Andre Schlurre and Marco van Ginkel adding depth, and not forgetting the returning Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne, the Stamford Bridge club have themselves a talented squad. If there is anyone qualified enough to lead a European charge, it is Mourinho, and they would expect to make the knockout stages this time around.
Manchester City have again spent big this summer, bringing in almost £90m worth of players in Fernandinho, Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas and Stevan Jovetic. There are still doubts over City’s European credentials however they could make a major play this year under new man Manuel Pellegrini. The Chilean guided Malaga into their first ever Champions League appearance, and ended up reaching the quarter finals. They will be an interesting watch against the big boys.
Arsenal have failed to add the much craved players fans wanted this season, and they will find it tough to reach the knockout stages if the group draw is not kind to them. They will be encouraged by their win against Fenerbache however.
With Mourinho leaving, Carlo Ancelotti has taken the reigns at Real Madrid. The highly successful Italian inherits a massive pool of talent, from the ever wonderful Cristiano Ronaldo to the up and coming Alvaro Morata. If Gareth Bale’s long awaited transfer is finally completed, along with new signings Isco and Asier Illaramendi, and Madrid look to be more than a match for the English sides this season.
And the same must be said of Barcelona – landmark signing Neymar add to a star studded squad who are always going to be favoured ahead of the English sides. And what about Bayern Munich, who have added Thiago Alcantara and Mario Gotze to the side that thrashed the Spanish Champions by seven goals in their own back yard. PSG have acquired the much courted Edison Cavani who proposes a tantalising partnership with Zlatan Ibrohimovich if they can play together.
Juventus and Napoli are the only Italian clubs to have seriously added to their ranks. Juventus see a new strike force of Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez, while Napoli will hope £32m Gonzalo Higuain can fire them far.
What will be certain is that with entertainment on offer to whoever they play, tickets