UCL Preview: Barca, Chelsea, Bayern to ensure progression, Arsenal hope for a miracle

first_imgBarcelona will be looking to secure their safe passage through to the knockout rounds of the Champions League on Tuesday evening in their penultimate group game against Roma.The holders, who are five points clear at the top of Group E, will qualify for the last 16 with a draw against the Italian opponents at Camp Nou.Luis Enrique’s side were at their best on Saturday as they dismantled bitter rivals Real Madrid 4-0 at Santiago Bernabeu in the first El Clasico of the season, with a double from Luis Suarez doing the damage, along with goals from Neymar and Andres Iniesta. Tuesday evening’s tie pits the Spanish coach against former club Roma, whom he managed from 2011 to 2013.Despite missing Lionel Messi through injury for much of this season, Barca have had no problems in finding the back of the net, while also being resolute at the back, having kept clean sheets in each of their last three games.Messi could start against Roma, having come on as a substitute against Real, although Enrique will surely be tempted to stick with the side that won so convincingly on the weekend, particularly with Barca’s place in the next round all but assured.With two games remaining, Roma are only in the top half of Group E by a single point from Bayer Leverkusen, with bottom side BATE Borisov, who they face on the final matchday, two points behind. The Giallorossi have not been at their best in the competition so far, with a surprise defeat at BATE leaving them in danger of not making it out of the group.They earned a credible draw with Barcelona in the return fixture on matchday one and secured a vital win over Bayer Leverkusen last time out, but defeat to Barca here could leave their qualification hopes in the balance.Arsenal must beat Dinamo Zagreb at the Emirates to maintain their hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League.The Gunners have progressed from the group stage every year since 1999, but their destiny is out of their hands with two games remaining. Should Olympiakos avoid defeat at Group F leaders Bayern Munich then both sides will qualify for the last 16 and Arsenal will be out.However, if Bayern win and Arsenal triumph against Dinamo, then the Gunners could still progress ahead of the Greek side on the final matchday.The good news for the hosts is that Dinamo have lost all three Champions League matches since winning the reverse fixture 2-1 in September and have not won any of their last 11 away games in the competition.However, Arsene Wenger admitted his side are in a “difficult moment” after losing 2-1 to West Brom on Saturday.The Gunners have won just one of their last five games in all competitions and saw Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta join a lengthy injury list at the weekend. Chelsea could secure their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with victory over Maccabi Tel-Aviv on Tuesday.If the Blues win, and Dynamo Kiev fail to beat Porto, then the Premier League champions will qualify for the knockout stages, while a draw would be enough if Dynamo lose.They start as favourites against struggling Maccabi, who are yet to pick up a point in Group G and lost the reverse fixture 4-0 at Stamford Bridge.Jose Mourinho acknowledged his side will “be in trouble” if they lose but says confidence is improving after the 1-0 win over Norwich at the weekend.The Blues have struggled on the road in the Champions League recently, winning just two of their last 10 away games. Bayern Munich and Olympiakos meet on Tuesday knowing a draw would take both through to the Champions League last 16 and eliminate Arsenal.Hosts Bayern are likely to be without left-back David Alaba, who has an ankle injury, for a game boss Pep Guardiola calls “a bit like a final for us”.”We know how strong Olympiakos are,” said the ex-Barcelona boss. “They play good football.”We can qualify for the next round as the top side in the group [if we win].” Bayern are top of Group F on nine points, level with Olympiakos, after four of the six games, with Arsenal third on three points.Guardiola added: “They will not allow us much space, especially in front of their goal.”Their wingers are very quick and they have some tall players too.”Olympiakos did not play on Saturday after the Athens derby against Panathinaikos was called off following crowd trouble. Other fixtures:BATE Borisov vs LeverkusenFC Porto vs Dynamo KievZenit vs ValenciaLyon vs Gent–These games will be live on SuperSport, your world of champions.last_img read more