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"In any language, the whole world is united by a ball." --- Steve Amoia, Publisher, November 2006.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Revised 2010/2011 UEFA Champions League Predictions by Chris Behrens

Inter Milan's Samuel Eto'o (C) challenges Marco Motta (L) of Juventus during their Serie A soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan October 3, 2010. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini (ITALY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
Can Samuel Eto'o lead Inter to another UCL
triumph? Read what Chris has to say. Matchday 4
will be on 02/03 November.

by Chris Behrens for World Football Commentaries

We are a third of the way through the group stage and the tournament has produced few surprises and many expected results. I’ve decided my predictions for the groups have changed a bit after taking in all the action, and I imagine your predictions have too.

Here’s how the group standings will look after it’s all said and done.

Group A

White Hart Lane, Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa , Premier League 02/10/2010  Rafael van der Vaart of Tottenham shoots on goal Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

1). Inter Milan

2). Tottenham

3). FC Twente

4). Werder Bremen

Inter Milan have looked comfortable with a 4-0 thrashing of Werder Bremen and a giveaway draw against FC Twente. Expect them to beat Tottenham and wrap up the group relatively early. The men in Tottenham jerseys have asserted themselves in the group, too, in a bizarre 4-1 beating of Twente, with Van Der Vaart pulling the strings (arguably the best pickup of the summer). The other two are a mixed bag of performances, so they’ll fight it out for a spot in the Europa League third round

Group B

Olympique Lyon's Michel Bastos shoots to score against Schalke 04 during their Champions League Group B soccer match at the Gerland stadium in Lyon September 14, 2010.  REUTERS/Robert Pratta (FRANCE - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

1). Lyon

2). Benfica

3). Schalke

4). Hapoel Tel Aviv

This group has potential to play a bunch of different ways. Lyon’s Champions League experience from last year’s campaign should push them to the top of the group, but it’ll be a dogfight between Benfica and Schalke. We’ll see if new boys Huntelaar and Raul can help squeeze out a couple wins, but I see Benfica scraping by on goal difference. As expected, Hapoel Tel Aviv will be going home early.

Group C

Manchester United's Nani shoots and scores a goal ahead of the tackle from Bolton Wanderer's Paul Robinson during their English Premier League soccer match in Bolton September 26, 2010.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder  (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0)

1). Manchester United

2). Rangers

3). Valencia

4). Buraspor

Rangers pulled out an impressive scoreless draw at Old Trafford, and have shown they can scrap a result or two, something required for success in European play. Manchester United have enough quality to get to the top, despite Rooney being way off form and The Continental being the main source of goals lately. Valencia have lost a lot of quality, with David Villa and David Silva departing, and it shows, however Juan Mata is taking to his role nicely. Buraspor are a joke.

Group D

Barcelona's Javier Mascherano challenges Rubin Kazan's Sergey Kornilenko (L) during their Champions League Group D soccer match at Central stadium in Kazan September 29, 2010. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor (RUSSIA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

1). Barcelona

2). Rubin Kazan

3). Coppenhagen

4). Panathinaikos

I’m holding with my original prediction here, even though Coppenhagen have surprisingly earned two wins in as many games. Rubin Kazan’s draw with Barcelona was too impressive to ignore and the loss against Coppenhagen was a fluke. The Barcelona jersey has way too much quality behid it not to top the group, so it should be interested to see who earns the second spot in the group

Group E

Bayern Munich's Mario Gomez (R) is tackled by Werder Bremen's Mikael Silvestre during their German Bundesliga soccer match in Munich September 11, 2010. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY) ONLINE CLIENTS MAY USE UP TO SIX IMAGES DURING EACH MATCH WITHOUT THE AUTHORITY OF THE DFL. NO MOBILE USE DURING THE MATCH AND FOR A FURTHER TWO HOURS AFTERWARDS IS PERMITTED WITHOUT THE AUTHORITY OF THE DFL. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY

1). Bayern Munich

2). AS Roma

3). CFR Cluj

4). Basel

Pretty predictable group. If anything Munich and Roma may switch positions, but they’ll be the ones to move on from this group. CFR Cluj and Basel just don’t have the experience or quality to survive in a top-flight European tournament. See you next year, Cluj and Basel? Probably not.

Group F

Stamford Bridge, Chelsea v Arsenal , Premier League 03/10/2010 Florent Malouda of Chelsea tangles with Alex Song of Arsenal Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

1). Chelsea

2). Spartak Moscow

3). Marseille

4). Zilina

Quite surprisingly, the money heavy Russian club from Moscow is holding their own in the group, squeaking out a win against Marseille and cruising against the rag doll of the group, Zilina. Chelsea are as expected ruthless as ever and should have no problem securing qualification for the knockout stages a game before the group stage is done. Marseille have played well at times but have absolutely no firepower.

Group G

AC Milan's Ronaldinho (R) fights for the ball against Genoa's Rafinha during their Serie A soccer match at San Siro stadium in Milan September 25, 2010.     REUTERS/Imagesport              ( ITALY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

1). Real Madrid

2). AC Milan

3). Ajax

4). Auxerre

Jose Mourinho’s men are hitting stride at the right time and finally are looking like they can produce some offense here and there. Even if they only get one a game from Higuain or Ronaldo, the defense has been a rock thus far. Milan’s three pronged attack of Pato, Ibrahimovic, and Robinho has an edge over Ajax’s Luis Suarez. Unfortunately, he can’t do it all alone, so they’ll be headed to the Europa League.

Group H

Emirates Stadium, Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion , Premier League 25/09/2010  Samir Nasri of Arsenal scores Arsenals 2nd 2-3 Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

1). Arsenal

2). Shakhtar Donetsk

3). Partizan

4). Braga

As expected, Arsenal and Shakhtar are the only teams in the group with any real quality. Wenger’s men should cruise, despite their yearly massive injury list, as should Shakhtar. Braga plainly look out of their element, conceding nine goals in the first two games so they’ll be packing up early. Partizan may squeeze out some points here and there, but nothing significant. There are only two teams in this group that matter.

About the Author

Chris Behrens works for soccerpro.com.

Chris Behrens Archive

Chris gets his all of his licensed soccer equipment at soccerpro.com.

Please check out SoccerProse: A soccer blog for soccer players, fans, parents and coaches.


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