Tonight saw the return of the UEFA Champions League, and for the footballing fans out there, there isn’t news much better than that. The elite competition returned after a 4-month gap, and it had some of the finest teams across Europe in action on day one itself.
Favourite underdogs PSG kicked off their campaign in ruthless style by beating Celtic 5-0 away, while Chelsea won their tie against Qarabag with a 6-0 margin in their favour. Barcelona beat Juventus 3-0, and that was also the score line in the match we’re about to focus on.
Manchester United returned to the competition after 2 years and welcomed Basel to Old Trafford to kick things off. A 3-0 victory was proof of how dominating the home team was, and how they are a genuine threat that aim to go a long way in this year’s tournament.
Here are 5 things we learnt from United’s fine display against FC Basel:
5. Table Toppers
Manchester United are in Group A in this year’s Champions League, alongside Basel, Benfica, and CSKA Moscow. Given their domestic form and the highlights of today, one can easily assume that the Red Devils will be finishing the group atop the table. Anywhere else except there might come as a disappointment.
4. Strength in Depth
With names like Bailly, Jones, Herrera, and Valencia missing, and Paul Pogba out in the first quarter of the match, Manchester United relied on the power of their squad’s depth. The side cruised to an easy and dominant victory with unlikely heroes popping up with fine performances. Ashley Young and Daley Blind each assisted a goal, while Marouane Fellaini did the same while also scoring one himself.
Clearly, Mourinho’s squad is ready for the grind this time around. Along with the names that were not a part of tonight’s action, there is one particular Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is also eyeing a return as soon as possible. His comeback will surely turn this team from challengers into genuine contenders.
3. Goal-Scorers In Red Hot Form
Goal-scoring and killing off games were issues that kept United away from the title challenge last season. The purchase of Romelu Lukaku was a step taken to solve that problem, and that is exactly what the striker is out there doing. The player has scored 5 goals already so far, one being tonight, and has proved that he is the man that will keep finding the back of the net with utmost ease this campaign.
Furthermore, lads like Martial and Rashford have been getting in on the act themselves, as well and a total of 15 goals in 5 games comes across as a healthy statistic for the whole squad.
2. Manchester United Are Finely Balanced
After another fine display of high quality football tonight, one can point out the brilliant balance in United’s squad this season. Be it fluent high-paced attacks or orderly disciplined defending, the side seems to have both in place.
Quick running players with intricate passing abilities and physically strong lads with good heading abilities, both are a part of the same team, and gelling well. Goals of all kind, cross and headers, tap-ins and long range, and beautifully worked team efforts are all taking turns.
1. This Might Be The English Year
It might be too soon to think so, but the optimistic minds can surely see it happening. After years of frustration and poor performances, tonight can give the English fans a ray of hope that they’ve certainly been missing and waiting for. With 5 teams from the Premier League in the competition, the chances do slightly fall in their favour.
Manchester United’s win was surely a positive start for the country’s football teams, and Chelsea’s 6-0 drubbing of Qarabag made the night that much sweeter. Jose Mourinho is an accomplished manager, and has won the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan in the years gone by. If there was ever a man that could guide Manchester United back to European glory, it would have to be him.
Tottenham, Liverpool, and Manchester City are yet to play their matches, but if they come out to be anywhere as good as the two that took part, the Spanish clubs might finally have a lot to worry about.
Written by Vikram Gupta
An attacker with his words, and defends each of them with pride. A love for the game which goes hand in hand with his will to forever write. A graduate in the course of advertising and a hopeful to be author. Herrera for the win.