By 90Min
September 20, 2018

While the new 5pm kick-offs are undoubtedly the scourge of commuters across Europe, the Champions League is well and truly back with a bang - as the continent's elite sides going toe to toe for a place in this season's final at the cavernous Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid.

Manchester United and Manchester City got their campaigns under way last night, with both sides determined to match the strong start from Liverpool - who dramatically triumphed 3-2 over Paris Saint-Germain the following evening. The two Mancunian sides couldn't have had more different fortunes - as United hammered Young Boys 3-0, while City lost 2-1 to Lyon.

Now we have an insight into both sides' groups, here's a rundown of which of the two sides have the easiest group in this season's competition:

José Mourinho appears to have expertly weathered the storm that threatened to end his tenure at Old Trafford - with his side gallantly bouncing back from a slow start to the season with a strong run of form. The Red Devils looked back to their best against their Swiss opposition last night, with Paul Pogba in particular excelling for his side - despite Graeme Souness' remarks.

Following their win, United topped of their group ahead of Juventus - who won 2-0 at Valencia. Clearly, while Young Boys had their chances, they're looking odds on to finish bottom of the group. Juventus are most certainly United's biggest threat for top spot, and Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford will be a fascinating spectacle for fans and neutrals alike.

Given that Ronaldo was sent off early in the match, Juventus' win was all the more impressive, and the Serie A serial winners are likely to push United to their limits across their two matches. Valencia excelled in La Liga last season, but have started the new campaign poorly, and shouldn't prove too much of a challenge for Mourinho's side.

Conversely, Man City's shock loss saw them open their Champions League season in the worst manner possible - and will now have to show some real grit to pull themselves back to the top of the group. With Pep Guardiola forced to watch on from the stands, assistant manager Mikel Arteta had a nightmare debut in the hot-seat as his players crumbled before him.

OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

City's complacent style of play proved their downfall, as the plucky visitors seized their opportunity and picked up a massive three points in the battle for first place. While there are of course another five matches to go, and the Citizens are more than capable of winning the lot, the pressure will be mounting on the team to respond next time out - away to Hoffenheim.

Hoffenheim played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk, in a game that showcased both sides' desire to play attacking football. Julian Nagelsmann's side will be no pushovers when City travel to the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, and Guardiola's men will need to be at their best to get the three points.

While it would be easy to immediately jump to conclusions and say that City aren't going to top the group, it's worth remembering that the team are getting better and better under Guardiola, and that the manager has won the Champions League twice before. However the Citizens are now in for a tough ride, and certainly appear to have the tougher group than United.


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