Champions League – who’s through?
This Tuesday and Wednesday nights bring the final round of Group Stage games in the Champions League – and while a couple of British teams can rest on their laurels, others have to sweat out the full ninety minutes to find out where they’ll be jetting off to after Christmas – if at all.
December 4th, 2012
Arsenal – through
The Gunners are through to the knockout stages with a game to spare – although tonight’s last matches will settle the matter of who they face. Arsenal travel to Olympiakos tonight having left several key first-teamers at home, and will get an easier draw if they can better the result of group leaders Schalke. It’s hoped that the youngsters appearing tonight will be able to cast aside all fan’s worries over their weekend defeat against Swansea – and their below-par league form in general.
Celtic – still hopeful
Celtic host Spartak Moscow tonight knowing that they must get a better result than second-placed Benfica; the Portuguese club has a superior head-to-head record against the Scottish champions going into their final game at the Nou Camp. Celtic have won, drawn and lost games since their last European encounter and will hope to get a good result against the team already eliminated.
Chelsea – out of their hands
The final match at home against bottom-placed Nordsjaelland is Chelsea’s last chance to scrape into the knockout round. They must win and hope that Juventus are defeated by group leaders Shaktar Donetsk in order to get the runners-up spot; even in the event of a draw the defending European champions will drop into the Europa League because of their weaker head-to-head against Juve.
Man City – out and out?
Tonight, City faces group winners Borussia Dortmund – the magic number is eight: a points deficit between the sides and a goal swing. Dortmund and Real Madrid are already through to the next phase, leaving City and Ajax to battle it out for third place and a Europa League berth. City must win and Ajax must lose or else it’ll be another season of European blues.
Man United – group winners
United are already through as group winners, and might give some youngsters a run-out as they face Cluj, who need to better Galatasaray’s result at already-eliminated Braga to clinch the runners-up spot.