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TOPIC: English side prepare for vital Champions League ga

English side prepare for vital Champions League ga 18 Oct 2011 09:29 #1

A total of sixteen football matches will be played in the 2011/12 Champions League, this week, with Manchester City's clash against Spanish outfit, Villarreal, and Real Madrid's encounter with Lyon at the Bernabeu, Madrid, likely to be the highlights of the third week of the group stages.

Four English teams are in action; Chelsea will play Belgium's KRC Genk, in what should be a routine fixture for the Blues. Genk are currently bottom in Group E, despite showing some promise on September 13, holding Valencia to a goalless draw in their first match of the group stages.

While Chelsea also drew with the La Liga team, the London outfit dispatched fellow group mates, Bayer '04 Leverkusen, two-to-nothing. Genk's match against the Germans ended much the same way – 2-nil – albeit with Leverkusen on the positive side of the hyphen. Genk have yet to find a win in this year's Champions League, while Chelsea remain unbeaten.

Manchester United will play Romanian tongue-twister, SC Otelul Galati, in what should be a walkover for the English side and the betting reflects this.

A win is crucial for the Red Devils, after Fergie's team drew both of their opening matches, against FC Basel 1893 and historic rivals, SL Benfica. Fortunately, for United's hopes of qualification, at least, Galati have been moonlighting as a punching bag in Group C, losing 1-2 and 0-1, in their two UEFA games, to date.

Up next; Arsenal could find themselves coming apart at the seams, when they play French Ligue 1 side, Olympique de Marseilles. The Gunners' high-flying position in Group F belies their awkward start to their 2011/12 Champions League campaign – a draw at Borussia Dortmund, and a narrow victory over Greek team, Olympiakos.

Speaking about the latter match, QPR captain, Joey Barton, said, "they [Arsenal] made hard work of it. I remember watching the Champions League, and Arsenal against Olympiakos at home was […] a four or five-nil win for Arsenal." Marseilles, as group leaders, with zero goals conceded, could prove an unusually difficult challenge for Arsene Wenger's team.

Finally, Manchester City will play Villarreal on Wednesday evening. The two teams, having failed to win both of their opening matches, will need to dig deep for that maiden victory. City are, arguably, narrow favourites to win the encounter, but their debut Champions League campaign has been anything but brilliant, so far.
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