Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughAn early look at the Champions League contenders - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough An early look at the Champions League contenders - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

An early look at the Champions League contenders

Any team could win it, but the big teams people always see as serious contenders are not numerous. This season, many new managers have taken over and lots of new players have joined the elites, hence making it harder than ever for everyone to agree on a list. In my opinion there are eight contenders this season: Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus. But which ones of them top the list?

First of all, the reason why I wrote off the likes of AC Milan, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain as not serious contenders because they either haven’t invested enough in their squads or they have invested way too much to a point where it’s become hard to find harmony within the team.

Arsenal have a better chance than ever to win it this season. Arsène Wenger is still on top of the club, and the philosophy and the squad haven’t changed much. The acquisition of Mesut Özil has made them look even more solid.

The return of José Mourinho to west London has potentially brought Chelsea confidence. The head coach knows the team well and is back after gaining experience abroad. But after a shaky start to the season, the Blues don’t seem to be good enough so far.

Barcelona have always been favourites in the eyes of everyone lately. With the new manager, the signing of Neymar and the strong start, they seem to be on the right track.

Even though they started the Champions League season in style, Manchester United lack stability. With David Moyes joining the club as head-coach after more than two decades under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester still need some time to get used to the absence of the man who was behind making them the most successful team in England.

It has become somehow an obligation for Real Madrid to win the Champions League. With all the new players and the new Managers, the Spaniards are under a lot of pressure to bring the 10th title home.  With their solid start, one can say that they have the chance to achieve their goal. But honestly, I think they are blowing it out of proportions and this kind of attitude will not lead anywhere…And I hope it doesn’t.

Bayern are not exactly the same team they used to be last season. The squad has been reinforced and Guardiola, who is believed to be one of the best head coaches in the world, joined them. For me they look less confident on the field. They had a good start but with their current form and all the injuries, as a Bayern fan I wouldn’t put so much hope in them.

Dortmund: Not so likely! Their problem is that they still play like underdogs. Even though BVB made it to the final last season, have good team chemistry and added so much quality to the squad, they still can’t prove anyone that they’re consistent enough to go far again this season.

Just like Arsenal, Juventus have been working quietly and improving slowly and now they finally look ready to take a big step. The team is doing well under Conte, and with the new signings I expect them to do well this season.

As I see it, the top favourites are: Arsenal, Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern.

Simon Sammour