The English quartet’s anticipated Champions League comeback: What lies ahead?

    The Champions League returns this week with all four Premier League teams starting their campaigns, although they have had very different relationships with the competition in recent seasons.

    Manchester City are trying to defend their crown while Arsenal and Newcastle are back after long absences, although Eddie Howe’s side have had to wait much longer – 20 years.

    Meanwhile, Manchester United will look to give Erik ten Hag a break after a poor start to the domestic season.

    The PA news agency looks at the four sides English clubs will face first.

    Manchester City – Red Star Belgrade (Tuesday)

    Red Star Belgrade won a record 34th combined league title last season, finishing the campaign unbeaten and dropping just 14 points.

    They had to face the resignation of their coach, former Inter Milan midfielder Dejan Stankovic, in August 2022 after the team were eliminated in the Champions League play-off round, although his replacement Milos Milojevic enjoyed a smooth transition as the club galloped into sixth place crown in a row.

    There has been another managerial change this season, with the club appointing Israeli Barak Bahar, whose Maccabi Haifa side were responsible for Red Star’s elimination from the Champions League last August.

    Striker Aleksandar Kataj played a central role in last season’s success, scoring 19 goals, although as the country’s top stars are increasingly poached by foreign teams, the club are acclimating to a new reality in which virtually no one from the current Serbian squad plays for them. an unthinkable situation until recent years.

    The club were forced to bail out with more than £2 million in public money in April, a month after they settled their outstanding huge tax bill. All this means Bahar’s team is built on a shoestring budget and can take on treble winners City.

    Milan – Newcastle (Tuesday)

    On paper, Newcastle couldn’t have faced Milan at a better time after a humiliating 5-1 defeat to Inter on Saturday.

    Reports in Italy suggest manager Stefano Pioli will respond by changing his squad with former Chelsea striker Christian Pulisic, who has started all four league games and scored twice since moving to Serie A, in line to replace summer signing Samuel. Chukwueze.

    England international Fikayo Tomori could also return to central defense after missing Inter’s game through suspension.

    The 2021/22 Serie A champions made a strong start to the season heading into the weekend with three wins from three, having adjusted well to the loss of Sandro Tonali, who has returned from injury and is available following his move to St James’. A park.

    Pioli’s side were predictably criticized by the Italian press after Saturday’s humiliating defeat and are under pressure to get their European campaign off to a fast start.

    Arsenal – PSV Eindhoven (Wednesday)

    PSV stormed into the group stage with a 5-1 win in the play-off return leg against Rangers, but that came on the back of a disappointing campaign last season under the now-departed Ruud van Nistelrooy.

    Ultimately they were unable to recover from a poor first half of the season in the Eredivisie, despite beating eventual champions Feyenoord 4–3 in September and beating Ajax 2–1 in November to take them to first place.

    Form deserted them either side of the World Cup and while they largely turned things around, they were unable to keep pace with Feyenoord’s astonishing 13-game winning streak dating back to February.

    Van Nistelrooy quit the team in May after winning the KNVB Cup, citing a lack of management support amid reports of a player rebellion, and former Ajax and Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Bosz is now the man tasked with winning a first title club since 2018.

    Bayern Munich – Manchester United (Wednesday)

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