English clubs resume Champions League
Champions League action resumes this week and as we reach the halfway point in the campaign we take a look at how the English teams are performing, their next fixtures and the possibilities of them making it to the knockout phase.
Liverpool are currently sitting on top of Group C after beating Red Star Belgrade 4–0. Group C was expected to be a two horse race between Liverpool and PSG but Napoli have been the biggest surprise so far, beating Liverpool 1-0 in Italy and drawing with the French champions PSG 2 – 2. Liverpool’s game on Tuesday against Red Star is unlikely to be decisive with Napoli’s visit to Anfield and the last game away at PSG being more probable group deciders.
Manchester City, the English Champions, like Liverpool top their group. City suffered a shock defeat at home in their first game against Lyon losing 2-1. They recovered in their second game against Hoffheim, coming from a goal down to win 2-1. The third game away against Shakhtar Donetsk was much more comfortable with City winning 3-0.
It is hard to envisage a scenario in which Pep Guardiola’s side will not qualify for the knockout stage. They welcome the Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. City are in incredible form at the moment in all competitions with five straight wins and seventeen goals scored.
Manchester United won their first game against Group H rivals Young Boys 3-0 but since then, they have failed to score in their next two, drawing 0-0 with Valencia and losing to likely group winners Juventus 1-0 at home. Domestically United are becoming comeback kings, performing under par in the first half but improving in the second to snatch unlikely wins. French sensation Antony Martial has scored five in his last four games but is yet to get off the mark in Europe so far.
The Red Devils sit second in their Champions’ League group with four points, five behind the leaders Juventus, who they face in Turin on Wednesday. If United defy the odds and beat Juventus they will increase their chances of qualification but with their last game being against Young Boys it is likely the game against Valencia on match day 5 will be a winner takes all fixture.
Tottenham’s chances of qualification are the lowest of the English clubs in the Champions League. Whilst not mathematically impossible, after three games they only have one point and sit five points behind Inter Milan and eight points behind leaders Barcelona.
In Tottenham’s first game they led Inter with five minutes to go but were hit by two late goals to lose 2-1 at the San Siro. They faced Lionel Messi’s Barcelona next and the Argentinian was in lethal form, scoring two goals as Barcelona won 4-2 in a pulsating clash. Tottenham needed a result against PSV but could only draw to win their first point of the campaign.
It is still possible for Spurs to qualify but their fate is not in their own hands, it would take an incredible collapse from Inter to allow Tottenham to qualify. Inter play Barcelona on Tuesday. If the Italians win that, Tottenham will almost certainly be battling PSV for the third place and Europa League qualification.