Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea and United teams gearing up for Champions League group stage

Man City cruised to a 4-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday evening to book a place in the Champions League group stage. It was a performance which underlined the strength of a collective club that could topple both Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester United, much like Arsenal did in 2006 when they cruised through to the group stage.

Man City are ranked third in the Premier League by the odd number system. But their record in Europe is unparalleled by any other side, and they have an excellent goal difference of +21, more than any other side in Europe.

Their opponent at the weekend, Chelsea, aren’t at all happy with a group of, as Arsene Wenger put it, “flops” ahead of the group stage and are on their way back to the Europa League. The Premier League champs are likely to miss out on another trophy after an early exit from the Europa League.

Meanwhile, United and Chelsea know they need a bright start to the group stage, as they are ranked a lowly 14th and 16th respectively by the odd number system. United under Moyes had a strong showing in 2013 with a 4-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen, but stumbled through to finish third in Group F, drawing all three of their matches.

Chelsea led the way in the 2012/13 group stage, but drew their first three matches before pouncing to top the pool and qualify for the quarter-finals.

And Wenger’s Arsenal are the best of the English sides on their own head-to-head record, having beaten Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli in the group stage.

PSG were an also-ran in the group stage in last season’s Champions League, but with the added presence of Neymar they should be very formidable in their group. They fell behind early, as Bernardo Silva opened the scoring. Angel Di Maria pulled one back for the visitors. Sergio Aguero sent the fans wild by scoring the game-winner, as a rout loomed, before Serge Aurier finished it off.

Man City still have work to do to crack the group of powerhouses — including Chelsea, PSG, Bayern Munich and Shakhtar Donetsk — but they look as strong as any other team on their own head-to-head record against top players. It’s a formidable challenge ahead of them, but the Premier League champs will relish the opportunity.

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