Manchester United the early-season pacesetters in the Champions League

The expected start from the English teams in the Champions League last night, but Manchester United looked far more like potential winners than Chelsea.

Carlo Ancelotti's side may have won all six competitive games under the Italian yet they stuttered and fluffed their lines at Stamford Bridge and were decidedly fortunate to keep up that record against a Porto side who were surprisingly impressive.

Chelsea were missing Didier Drogba but their passing was poor and their customary defensive tightness noticeable only by its absence, while if they continue to squander as many chances as they have done so far this season, it will eventually come back to bite them on the backside.

United, by contrast, were always in control in Istanbul, even if Wayne Rooney wasn't. Rooney's boot-throwing was more impatience and frustration than anything else and Fergie will not be concerned in the slightest.

One man who still bears a grudge - and carried more than a few worries with him to Belgium - is Arsene Wenger, whose verbal attack on Mark Hughes and Emmanuel Adabayor was pre-prepared and considered.

There is no doubt that Wenger was voicing the feelings of his dressing room, let alone the Arsenal fans, although what happens next has already been pre-determined by the FA, with an immediate three-match ban for the stamp on Robin Van Persie and the possibility of an extra game for the 100 yard dash to celebrate in front of the travelling supporters.

But Wenger has more pressing concerns at Stanard Liege tonight. Italian youngster Vito Mannone will fill in for the ill Manuel Almunia in goal, while Van Persie, Andriy Arshavin, Theo Walcott, Denilson, Samir Nasri and Johan Djourou are also all missing.

Arsenal should have enough in any event - how grateful Wenger must be that UEFA's U-turn cleared Eduardo to play - but after those back to back defeats in the Premier League the Gunners chief cannot afford to see his side having to play catch-up in Europe as well.

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