Champions League 2018/19: 4 big clubs who must win or face elimination from group stages
The Champions League is back after a three-week break, and the biggest clubs in Europe would once more provide excitement for fans around the globe in their quest to be crowned the best team on the continent.
The Champions League is the grandest stage of club football in the world, as all the history associated with it gives it an extra special feel, and any player worth his salt wants to test himself on the UCL scene, as they would come up against the best players in the world.
Beyond being financially very rewarding, there is also a lot of prestige attached to being European champions, as such, all the clubs participating want to make it as far as possible in the tournament, and a group stage exit is almost impossible to think of for them.
However, the reality is that the new grouping system by UEFA pits some of the biggest clubs against one another in the group stage, and an underperformance by any of them would result in an early elimination from the UCL as was the case with Atletico Madrid last season and Chelsea in 2012.
Shocks and early exits are always thrown up in every edition of the Champions League, and this season would not be an exception. We present four big clubs who face the threat of elimination from the group stage if they fail to pick up a victory in the Champions League this week.
#4 Manchester United
Manchester United have been in topsy-turvy form this season, and they have faced a lot of stick for their lethargic performances, which sees them lie in 7th place on the Premier League table, and fans have bemoaned the dour and uninspiring football on display.
Marquee players such as Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba have struggled to hit the heights of previous years, while Marcus Rashford continues to blow hot and cold, and the defense has been in shambles as Mourinho has failed to stick with the same set of players long enough to build an understanding.
Their poor domestic form has also been transferred to the Champions League, and has seen The Red Devils pick up just four points from a possible nine, lying five points behind table-toppers Juventus.
They began their campaign with a 3-0 victory away in Switzerland to Young Boys, with captain on the night Paul Pogba registering a brace.
That match was followed up with a listless performance in a boring 0-0 draw with struggling Valencia at Old Trafford, and the Spaniards could indeed have left with all three points, but for their poor finishing.
A visit by Juventus led by former fan favorite Ronaldo ended in a 1-0 defeat, and put greater pressure heading into the return leg in Turin.
United head to Italy knowing that they must avoid defeat at all costs, and preferably pick up a victory, as a failure to do so could put their qualification hopes in jeopardy if Valencia pick up a victory against Young Boys.