As we move into the final round of games, only Manchester City have sealed their place in the final 16 of the Champions League, and can somewhat relax. For the rest of the English clubs, it’s still far from over.
Arsenal have the biggest task on their hands. After a miserable opening 2 games, which saw them take zero points. They now find themselves in a winner takes all duel with Olympiacos. In order for the Gunners to avoid the drop in the Europa League, they must beat the Greek side by 2 clear goals. The last 3 visits to Athens has seen the Gunners lose on all occasions, but on previous visits, it was a dead rubber. Arsenal could easily obtain the 2 goal margin of victory required for progression, but as they have already shown several times this season, they could just as likely lose 3-0. They will provide the most interest to watching neutrals!
Manchester United also head into their final game looking for a victory to move into the next phase. United, PSV and Wolfsburg could still all qualify, setting up a tasty finale. United fly to Germany to take on the German side. On paper, it is a simple task, win, and they go through. In reality, it wont be as easy. United have already lost at PSV, and Wolfsburg are a side to be taken seriously. A draw would not be the end of the road for LvG, but a PSV win at bottom placed CSKA Moscow would prove fatal to their chances. Though it’s an easier task than the one Arsenal will have to face.
Jose Mourinho is still not certain to feature in the knockout rounds either. Chelsea find themselves top on 10 points, along with Porto. Who they will face in the final match. Porto won the fixture earlier in the group stage at the Estádio do Dragão. Though it will be a tougher task for Porto to take the 3 points at the Bridge. Dynamo Kiev will most certainly win their game against Tel Aviv, who are rock bottom on zero points. A draw between Chelsea & Porto, combined with a Kiev win would see all teams tied on 11 points, and then it could get very messy!
The group phases of the Champions League is usually much derided, it’s usually predictable, and seen as a money maker. But this year, especially for the English clubs, it could prove to be a defining moment for their season!