As this year’s premier European club football competition kicks off, Tom Parry-Jones reviews the English teams’ first matches.The English teams in this year’s Champions League got off to a mixed start last week, as Arsenal and Manchester United both recorded wins, while English champions Manchester City lost to Real Madrid and Champions League holders Chelsea drew 2–2 with Juventus.
In the biggest game of the opening week, Manchester City travelled to nine-time European champions Real Madrid. Despite taking a 2–1 lead with five minutes to go, City were unable to close the game out and, following a stunning equaliser from Benzema in the 87th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo – formerly of Manchester United – sent City home with no points.
In the other Tuesday game to feature an English side, Olivier Giroud started for Arsenal against his former club, Montpellier, despite having yet to break his duck for the club. True to form, Giroud again failed to score, and it was left to Lukas Podolski and Gervinho to rescue the Gunners after they went behind to a Younès Belhanda penalty.
On Wednesday, Manchester United welcomed a Galatasaray side that seemed a shadow of its formerly terrifying self. Nevertheless, United were only able to scrape a 1–0 win, Michael Carrick scoring in the 7th minute. Nani should have made it two, but his poor penalty continued United’s spot-kick woe for the season to three in a row.
Finally, Chelsea squandered a 2–0 lead against a Juventus side that had gone unbeaten in Serie A last season. After an Oscar double for the Blues, Arturo Vidal and Fabio Quagliarella scored for the Bianconeri to share the spoils.