Matchday 4 should be a pivotal one as many groups may well be decided once the games are completed. Who needs a win and who can afford to slip? Let’s take a look at Tuesday’s games.
Roma need to win at home against Chelsea but that is looking to be a tall order considering the run of form that Chelsea are on right now. They absolutely walked all over Sunderland on the weekend and Roma will likely play a counter-attack game again and hope to frustrate the London club. Should there be a winner in the Cluj – Bordeaux match and Roma do not pick up at least a point, the pressure will be on the Italian side. Roma, who lost 2-0 to Juventus on the weekend, have slumped to one of their worst starts in recent seasons and remain just two points off the bottom of the Serie A table. Manager Luciano Spalletti is under pressure from the fans and media, and if results do not turn around quickly he could become the next Champions League manager to be fired.
Werder Bremen need a win. There is no other way to say it. They have been poor thus far and another draw will not help them turn things around. They looked impressive on the weekend as playmaker Diego starred in a 5-1 drubbing of Hertha Berlin but is it another false dawn? Bremen have a very talented side but have thus far been unable to get the most out of that talent. Here’s hoping we see the same Bremen side in midweek that we saw this past weekend. Panathinaikos need a win if even UEFA Cup is to be a possibility this season but I don’t see things going there way in Bremen.Anorthosis will hope to hold Inter to a draw, anything more would be a wonder result.With a win, Inter will pretty much have this group wrapped up.
Top and bottom of the group may well be decided if Barcelona steamroll FC Basel again. The scoreline was an emphatic 5-0 last time and while I don’t expect the same number of goals, I do think the result will be the same. That leaves Sporting and Shakhtar to battle it out for 2nd place. The 1-0 win that Sporting claimed at RSC Olympiyskiy Stadium on Matchday 3 has them sitting three points clear of Shakhtar. A second win against the Ukrainian side will propel them into the last 16. Sporting currently have a perfect record against Ukrainian opposition and while they will be without defender Tonel, I think Sporting will have enough depth and enough incentive to get the result at home.
The feature matchup in this group is the return fixture between Liverpool and Atlético Madrid. A victory for either side will put them in the driver’s seat in the group. Momentum is on Atlético’s side as they won at the weekend, while Liverpool lost despite playing very well. However, it will be a tall order for Atlético to go to Anfield and take all three points. I think this one will likely end up a draw but should one of the two slip, PSV will be hoping to overcome Marseille and close the gap on second place. The Dutch side currently sit third on 3 points, 4 back of the joint leaders of the group. PSV and Marseille both won at the weekend and the last match was close despite the 2-0 scoreline. Marseille moved within a point of Ligue 1 pacesetters Olympique Lyonnais with a 3-1 victory at home against AS Saint-Etienne,while PSV defeated Willem II by a 2-0 scoreline to move within 1 point of top spot in the Eredivisie.
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