The Premier League is often considered the best football league in the world, which holds true considering its viewership, competitiveness, and unpredictability. However, the result in the UEFA Champions League last night raised questions about the credibility of the Premier League. Two of the English giant clubs, Arsenal and Manchester United, suffered defeats in Champions League action last night against opponents from comparatively lower-ranked leagues, one of which is even outside the top 5 leagues as per the UEFA Coefficient.
Lens upset Arteta’s Arsenal
Arsenal was the primary challenger to Manchester City in the Premier League last season. The team led by Arteta is off to a great start in the Premier League this season. After securing the second position in the Premier League last season, Arsenal booked their place in the Champions League after seven long years. They even won their first game of the 2023/24 UCL season against PSV with a scoreline of 4-0.
Considering their form, it was supposed to be an easy Champions League fixture for Arsenal against RC Lens. RC Lens is a French team that secured their place in the 2023/24 UCL after finishing second in Ligue 1 last year. However, their start to the new league season has been very poor. They are 17th in the league with seven points in as many games. Arsenal was the heavy favorite going into the lower-ranked Lens in the UCL night. However, the Champions League, known for its unpredictability, didn’t fail to deliver, and Lens created an upset against the English club Arsenal.
RC Lens created a huge upset in the UCL by beating Arsenal 2-1. They came back from a one-goal deficit to disappoint Arsenal. Gabriel Jesus scored in the 16th minute to give an early lead to Arsenal. RC Lens didn’t take long to equalize the score. Thomasson reduced the lead of Arsenal in the 24th minute. Elye Wahi scored the game-winning goal against Arsenal in the 69th minute of the game. The defeat against Lens wasn’t the only upset for Arteta’s men in the match. Their main man, Bukayo Saka, was substituted in the 34th minute of the match due to injury. He is unlikely to start for Arsenal in their next Premier League fixture against the defending champion, Manchester City.
Another disappointment for Ten Hag
Manchester United, led by Eric Ten Hag, has been very disappointing at the beginning of the season. Their start in the Premier League hasn’t been good, with four losses in their first seven matches. They have lost a total of five matches in their last seven games in all competitions, which is unacceptable for a big club like Manchester United. Similar to the Premier League, their start in the UEFA Champions League was also very poor. They lost their opening game against Bayern Munich with a scoreline of 4-3 at the Allianz Arena.
After losing their first match, the Red Devils were under pressure to win the game against Galatasaray. Manchester United was expected to win the game as they were playing at their home ground, Old Trafford. However, the match didn’t go as per Eric Ten Hag’s plan, and Manchester United suffered a loss against the Turkish club, Galatasaray. Manchester United is at the bottom of their group in the Champions League with zero points from the first two games.
Tıpkı bizim gibi ✈️ https://t.co/gbrKSku2c0— Türk Hava Yolları (@TK_TR) October 3, 2023
Manchester United got off to a good start in the game after their new signing, Rasmus Hojlund, scored a goal in the 17th minute of the game following Rashford’s assist. The Red Devils’ lead didn’t last long once again as former United player, Wilfried Zaha, equalized the goal in the 23rd minute. Rasmus Hojlund once again gave the lead to United in the 67th minute of the match. This is his 3rd goal of this UCL campaign. The Red Devils’ lead didn’t last long once again as Aktürkoglu scored an equalizer in the 71st minute. Soon after scoring the equalizer, Galatasaray was provided an opportunity to score the go-ahead goal in the 78th minute after Casemiro conceded a red card due to a foul inside the penalty box following Onana’s error. But Icardi missed the penalty. Soon after missing the penalty, Icardi made up for his early mistake by scoring the match-winner in the 81st minute and creating an upset in the backyard of Manchester United.
Remaining fixtures for English clubs
With two English clubs losing their Champions League matches last night, the prestige of the Premier League now rests in the hands of Manchester City and Newcastle United. Manchester City will face RB Leipzig tonight, and Newcastle United will welcome the French Champion Paris Saint Germain to their home ground.