The Champions League group stage returned in earnest last night with goals galore across Europe and we’re looking at some of the key indicators from the first games for the competition ahead.
Bale’s arrival can make Ronaldo even better
Despite it being obvious from around the end of July that Gareth Bale would leave Tottenham for Real Madrid the future of Cristiano Ronaldo at the Bernabeu was much less clear until he signed a new bumper contract.
So far it seems the Spanish capital is big enough for the both of them and the Portuguese superstar took centre stage in the 6-1 win at Galatasaray, with the young Welsh pretender coming off the bench to set up the second goal of his teammate’s hat-trick.
Wayne Rooney possesses the creativity Man Utd need
United comfortably saw off Bayer Leverkusen and Rooney was again at the heart of everything they did well, scoring twice and laying one on for Antonio Valencia in a 4-2 win.
David Moyes may have hit on a winning formula with Rooney at number ten and Marouane Fellaini marshalling the midfield, which will be some solace to Red Devils fans disappointed with their summer business.
Guardiola’s Bayern Munich mean business
Former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola has a difficult task to emulate predecessor Jupp Heynckes’ achievements in Bavaria, but a 3-0 home win against CSKA Moscow is a solid start to Bayern’s Champions League defence nonetheless.
The current holders are 3/1 favourites to become the first club to retain the Champions League and with a two-time winning manager on board it will take a hell of a team to stop them.
Even when Zlatan misfires PSG are full of goals
An equaliser from former Man City midfielder Vladimir Weiss gave Olympiakos a chance of sharing the points against the French champions after Edinson Cavani had opened the scoring for PSG in Greece.
However two goals in five second-half minutes from Thiago Motta and a Marquinhos header meant that even a missed penalty from Zlatan Ibrahimovic could not take the gloss off Laurent Blanc’s side’s impressive 4-1 win.
Serie A teams could struggle to make an impact again this season
Juventus turned Serie A into a procession last season and eventually won the Scudetto by nine points, but they needed a second-half equaliser to take a point away from their tie with Copenhagen in Denmark.
Real Madrid may have done them a favour by battering Galatasaray, but when Fatih Terim’s team visit Turin in two weeks the home side will be under pressure to deliver three points.
The Old Lady arguably has the easiest group of the three Italian teams, with Napoli up against Arsenal and Dortmund and Milan battling Barcelona and Ajax.