Four Out Of Four?

With only a couple of group stage games left, it looks very much as if there might be four English sides entering the knockout stages of this season’s UEFA Champions League. Here’s a quick preview for this week’s games involving the English clubs.


Braga v Arsenal (7:45, Sky Sports 4)

Braga didn’t play at the weekend but despite only losing once at home in the Portuguese league this season, it’s their away form that’s been letting them down – they haven’t won in the league since April. After losing to Shaktyar Donetsk in their last game, Arsenal’s qualification isn’t as straightforward as it was and it’ll be interesting to see how they cope after their home defeat at home to Spurs on Saturday lunchtime.

Chelsea v Zilina (7:45, Sky Sports 2)

Group F’s whipping boys suffered a rare away defeat at 2nd place Senica on Saturday but having lost all their Champions League group games this season Zilina won’t  even qualify for the Europa League. Having already booked their spot in next round, a Chelsea win looks a formality but after their recent run of poor form they might want to put on an exhibition against the Slovakian champions –
if Marseille can beat them 7-0, then Chelsea could easily equal that.


Rangers v Man United (7:45, ITV)

Apart from losing 3-0 at home to Hibs a couple of weeks ago, Rangers have a pretty formidable record at Ibrox; compared with last season’s disaster at group stage (three home defeats), beating Bursaspor and drawing with Valencia indicates that Walter Smith’s side have worked out how to play in the UCL but they need to beat United to stand any chance of qualification for the next round. United’s loss to Bayern Munich earlier this year was their first away defeat in the Champions League since May 2007 and despite supposedly not being at their best, they’re still undefeated in the Premiership and only need a point to qualify for the next round.

Spurs v Werder Bremen (7:45, Sky Sports 2)

Spurs’  win at Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime was the first time they’d won at either the Emirates or Highbury since Herbert Chapman was Arsenal manager May 1993 and they should be clear favourites for this game. Bremen lost 4-0 at Schalke 04 on Saturday and are currently only four points outside the relegation places in the Bundesliga with the second worst defensive record in that competition this season; if Spurs win – and they should – then they’re through.