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2023-24 Champions League Meet Europe’s football titans

2023-24 Champions League Meet Europe’s football titans

The Champions League is in full force, and fans are witnessing remarkable performances from Europe’s football giants. After three exhilarating Matchdays, the football world has a clearer view of which teams can be considered the competition’s powerhouses and contenders for the title.

Find out which teams are the top powerhouse clubs of the UCL as the league heads into Matchday 4:

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Real Madrid (Group C)

After their success in 2022, Real Madrid has proven they can dominate this event. Now, they are building a special squad with abundant talents, headlined by Jude Bellingham. They have three wins in the group, putting them at the top of Group C.

Bellingham continues to dominate

He has emerged as the star for Real in the 2023/24 season as he excelled in the attacking midfielder role. He is a shadow striker, helping him score 13 goals across all competitions, with three coming in the UCL.

His success in Carlo Ancelotti’s system can be attributed to his impeccable positioning, which allows him to maximise his goal-scoring opportunities.

The midfield completely controls the game

The young star from England thrives because he has a stable supporting cast behind him with Luka Modrić, Eduardo Camavinga, and Federico Valverde. These three players always fight for the ball and immediately convert it to chances by making the through-ball pass to the wingers or Bellingham in the attacking-midfield position.

Arsenal (Group B)

The Gunners have notched two wins and suffered one loss in their UCL return. Their sole loss to Lens was a heartbreaker, but they did not hang their heads down as they beat Sevilla away. Here are the squad’s point players for the Champions League:

Gabriel Jesus shines in the Champions League

Gabriel Jesus shined for Arsenal as he continues to have dazzling performances as both a goal-scorer and a playmaker, headlined by his two-goal contributions against Sevilla. He is often described as a top-tier performer in knock-out tournaments when he was with Manchester City, and now, he’s doing it for Arsenal, too.

Arsenal is stable because of the defence

Arsenal can hang their heads on having one of Europe’s best defences as William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhães protect their net as their primary centre-back pairing. At the same time, full-backs Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu work hard to defend and contribute to the attack with their excellent passing and overall vision.

Bayern Munich (Group A)

The German football giants are undisputedly the best team in Group A, with three wins in the same number of matches. They dominated RB Leipzig and Copenhagen in exceptional form but had a cracking match against Manchester United. Bayern’s star player, Harry Kane, came into the team in the summer from Tottenham Hotspur.

Harry Kane’s fit with Bayern

Kane has an impressive tally of 14 goals this season across all competitions. Two of them have come during the UCL, one apiece against Man United and Galatasaray. He is their target man as his teammates love to cross the ball into the box for him to finish off the chance to score.

Jamal Musiala’s constant improvement

Kane is well-reinforced by a stellar supporting cast, including the young Jamal Musiala. He has contributed two goals in the UCL, with an assist to boot. The 20-year-old is a great partner for any of Bayern’s forwards because he uses his speed and skill to open up space for the others to enter.

Inter Milan (Group D)

Inter is coming off a recent appearance in the Champions League final in June 2023, and now, they’re looking to redeem themselves after losing to Manchester City. Despite the squad no longer having Romelu Lukaku, they have a rejuvenated team while having most of the core from the previous year.

Inter has elite depth

The I Nerazzurri’s current squad has elite depth, allowing them to adapt to various challenges. Lautaro Martínez is the standout player for Inter as the primary goal-scorer and club captain.

They have immense talent in every position, with Hakan Çalhanoğlu headlining the midfield. Aside from him, there are some key players all around the squad who complement their playstyle with their energy and passing ability:

  • Marcus Thuram

  • Denzel Dumfries

  • Benjamin Pavard

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Manchester City (Group G)

Man City is the defending champions, and they’ve continued to be a formidable presence across most matches they’ve played. In the Champions League, they already have three wins across three games. They have an abundance of talent in every position, which helps them compete in every competition they play in.

Erling Haaland continues to be a goal-scoring dynamo

Haaland remains the most dynamic player on the City squad, primarily due to his compelling goal-scoring ability. He has the strength to overpower defenders and the skill to trick the goalkeeper into moving in the opposite direction.

Although Haaland has yet to score in the UCL, his presence makes the opposing defenders adjust their tactics as he moves well off the ball, leading to other forwards getting space to move freely.

Man City is spectacular in defence

Man City also has one of the most spectacular defences in the world, as high-level players power them. Ruben Dias is the team’s most valued central defender, complemented by a solid supporting cast including Nathan Aké, John Stones, Manuel Akanji, and Josko Gvardiol, who are all massive and talented defenders.

Newcastle United (Group F)

The Magpies have made an impressive return to the Champions League. They secured one win, a draw, and a loss apiece in their first three group-stage matches, which gives them the momentum to carry. Newcastle defeated French giants Paris Saint-Germain four goals to one and claimed their first win. That was a crucial result for the Magpies since they were beaming with confidence.

Playing with immense energy

Newcastle approaches the game with immense and boundless energy, evident with how they put everything on every kick or tackle. This gets the rest of the team going as they bounce off that energy, helping them perform at their best against their opponents.

Newcastle’s midfield is as good as advertised

The midfield has been a standout area for Newcastle as they’re working hard to defend and link up the defence with the forward. With Sandro Tonali’s suspension, the midfield is still strong with these players:

  • Bruno Guimarães

  • Joelinton

  • Sean Longstaff

  • Joe Willock

Napoli (Group C)

Napoli carried the confidence and momentum from their 2022/23 Serie A victory to the current UCL campaign. They have two wins and a loss in Group C, putting them just behind Real. They rely on Victor Osimhen to score their goals, but in the UCL so far, the rest of the team has shown up.

The squad is supporting Osimhen well

Osimhen was absent in their match against Union Berlin, and his teammates capitalised as Giacomo Raspadori scored the solitary goal. Their 4-3-3 formation has done wonders with their pressing and counter-attacking abilities. The goals have come from all fronts, with these players as UCL goal-scorers:

  • Leo Skiri Østigård

  • Piotr Zieliński

  • Giacomo Raspadori

  • Sikou Niakate

  • Giovanni Di Lorenzo

Real Sociedad (Group D)

With two wins and a draw across the first three Matchdays, Sociedad has maintained an unbeaten record in Europe this season. They are a well-rounded team on both sides, but their offence is the part of their game that stands out.

Takefusa Kubo is a standout

Kubo is Soceidad’s best player and the most creative force on the pitch. Kubo can score goals with five to his name in La Liga, but he’s most reliable when he’s bombing down the final third and creating scoring chances for his teammates. He can take over a match when needed, which has helped Sociedad remain competitive in every match.

Barcelona (Group H)

Group H has a solid cast of clubs, but Barcelona stands heads and shoulders above the rest, proven by their spotless record against every team in the group. Manager Xavi has maximised every bit of his squad in maintaining an impressive record across all competitions.

Dominance in the midfield

Barcelona’s midfield has been encouraging to watch for their fans as they have talented players in every position. Frenkie De Jong is arguably their best player, and he controls most of what happens in the game when they have the ball. Pedri and Gavi are both young and creative phenoms, which helps the forwards receive the ball in dangerous areas.

The 4-3-3 has done wonders for Barca’s offence

The 4-3-3 formation makes Barca such a tough matchup because they have the speed to outpace most opponents while also being effective in pressing when playing defence.

Galatasaray (Group A)

The Turkish side has fought hard in Group A with one win, loss, and draw apiece. Their victory over Man United was among the most impressive in this season’s UCL as they beat most people’s choice of placing second in the group.

Mauro Icardi has emerged as the main man

Mauro Icardi has emerged as the club’s most reliable UCL player, as he seems to find a way to keep scoring goals in almost every game. He occasionally misses, which is a problem for the fans, but he always delivers on the next attempt.

Galatasaray’s creativity is shining in the UCL

Galatasaray has creative players, but the best one they have is Wilfried Zaha. The star winger has proven he can be one of the best players on a UCL team with his performances so far for the Turkish titans.

The biggest matches to watch on Matchday 4

The upcoming matches for Matchday 4 promise to be massive. Get excited, as these matches will have implications for the clubs’ placements on the table. For teams who don’t make it to the top two, the consequences will be relegation to the Europa League in the third-place teams’ case and elimination for the fourth-placed team.

This will also dictate the pre-season wagers for the Champions League, as most people had predicted Man City at the top once again. However, there are some contenders to their throne playing in some of the biggest matches.

Here are some of the key matches to watch on Matchday 4:

  • Borussia Dortmund vs Newcastle United

  • Arsenal vs Sevilla

  • AC Milan vs Paris Saint-Germain

Players to watch for the rest of the Champions League

Across the best UCL teams, several players have the potential to leave a lasting mark on the rest of the competition. They play crucial roles in their clubs’ success as influential players for their clubs. Here are some standout players to watch for the rest of the UCL campaign:

  • Jude Bellingham

  • Harry Kane

  • Takefusa Kubo

  • Kylian Mbappé

  • William Saliba

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Cholo Martin1 Nov 2023

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