UEFA Champions League: Viewing the English Sides' Opponents in Game One

Stefan GouyetAnalyst ISeptember 18, 2012

UEFA Champions League: Viewing the English Sides' Opponents in Game One

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    The Champions League Group Stage is back, and there are many great games to watch in Gameweek 1. 

    Following the international break, all the domestic leagues resumed last weekend and there were some very entertaining fixtures. Now, fans will have the chance to see their teams in European competition.

    All four English teams in the Champions League have difficult tasks this weekend. There is a big range of difficulty (Arsenal's match compared with Manchester City's) but none of the four games will be easy.

    Here's a look at this week's four opponents of the English sides:

Montpellier (vs. Arsenal)

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    Montpellier was last year's Ligue 1 champions but has obtained just four points from its opening five games. Over the weekend, they were 3-1 losers to newly-promoted side Reims. 

    Now they host Arsenal at Stade de la Mosson. 

    The Gunners had a poor first two matches in the Premier League, with back-to-back 0-0 draws. They improved tremendously at Liverpool, where they won 2-0, and then crushed Southampton 6-1 in their fourth match.

    Montpellier will need to play much better than they did at Reims if they are going to take points off Arsenal. 

    Oliver Giroud's move to London looks to have hurt the team, but Remi Girard will be confident that the likes of John Utaka, Emanuel Herrera, and Souleymane Camara can replace the star striker.

    It is expected that Giroud will feature at some point in the match.

Real Madrid (vs. Manchester City)

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    If you asked a month ago, most people would have backed Real Madrid for the win against Manchester City. 

    Now, while Madrid are still favorites to take all three points, it's hard to rule City out.

    Real are currently in 12th place in La Liga and already eight points behind rivals Barcelona.

    Los Merengues have lost two games, tied one, and won one. After their great Super Cup triumph over Barca, few would have predicted Madrid to start their La Liga campaign so poorly. 

    We'll see how this one turns out but you would expect the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Luka Modric to step up for this game.

Galatasaray (at Manchester United)

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    Sir Alex Ferguson will be happy that Manchester United play Galatasaray at home instead of in Turkey for Game 1.

    The Istambul-based team have been superb at home since moving into the Turk Telekom Arena in 2011. Last season, Galatasaray played 17 games at home, losing one and drawing two.

    They have started the new season with 10 points from their opening four games, and will now want to show their strength when they travel to Old Trafford.

Juventus (at Chelsea)

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    While Montpellier, Real Madrid, and Galatasaray all won their domestic leagues last year, Juventus hold the distinction of winning their league unbeaten.

    The Old Lady returned to their pre-2006 form last season and will now be competing in Champions League Group E.

    Juventus have started the new campaign on top form too, with three wins out of three games. 

    Chelsea are favorites to win the group but will certainly have trouble with Juventus, especially with the summer additions Kwadwo Asamoah, Mauricio Isla, and Nicklas Bendtner.