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.
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
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.
1). Manchester United
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.
2). Rubin Kazan
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
1). Bayern Munich
2). AS Roma
3). CFR Cluj
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.
2). Spartak Moscow
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.
1). Real Madrid
2). AC Milan
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.
2). Shakhtar Donetsk
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 gets his all of his licensed soccer equipment at soccerpro.com.
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