Yesterday we discussed the results, points and standing of each team and where they are in the whole scheme of things of the UEFA Champions League. What we did together was an incomplete job as we went up to only half of the eight group league. Let us then revisit the rest of the group to fish out the big fish to take home and the small fish to throw back into the sea!
We start with group E which comprises Chelsea, FC Basel, Steaua Bucharest and Schalke 04. The dominance of the English Premier League is evident once again as Chelsea leads the pack here with nine points off four games. They have won three of their games emphatically and, surprise, surprise, lost to FC Basel at Stamford Bridge of all places! Interesting is their home and away thrashing of second placed Schalke 04 with a consistently wide margin of 3-0 and 4-0. Despite the two heavy losses, the Bundesliga team has inflicted its own casualties and are conveniently positioned at second place with six points, having won against the other two teams in the group.
The Swiss champions in the group, FC Basel, the surprise victors against Murinho’s charges have managed to come up with only five points. This is as a result of two draws and one win. The sixteen time winners of the the Swiss domestic league have drawn both home and away to fourth placed Steaua Bucharest who have in turn only managed to collect those two sad points from the two draws. Maybe they are concentrating on the domestic league which they continue to lead in spite of having three matches in hand.
We said and said it again that the English clubs continue to shine on the international scene. Group F is again evidence of that dominance, albeit to a lesser extent. Arsenal lead this group with nine points, having won three matches and lost one. They lost their home match against Borussia Dortmund and won all other matches including the away fixture to the third placed German outfit. Second in command are simplistic Italian champions, Napoli who are breathing heavily down Wengers neck.
The Raphael Benitez coached side has won all their other matches with the exception of their 2-0 loss to eventual leaders, Arsenal. In third place, we find the German team at six points, meaning that they have won only two of their four matches; their surprise win over Arsenal and their obvious thrashing of the group’s whipping boys, Olympique Marseille who themselves are yet to get a point. An interesting group with no draws and the only group in the League which has a team with no points at all.
Group G is one of those groups with no English club. Atletico Madrid have taken full advantage of this scenario by winning all their fixtures to amass a total of twelve points with an unbeaten record. They have slammed in seven goals past Austria Wien in their two home and away fixtures. Second in command are the Russian soccer giants, Zenit St. Petersburg who in their turn, have managed to put together a mere five points from a win, a loss and two draws. On the other hand, FC Porto are in third place with only four points which are from one win and one draw. Bringing up the rear is Austria Wien. They have a single point from four matches. Austrian champions out of their depth?
The last group, group H is also one without an English team. Spanish giants, Barcelona seem to have dominated the group without any troubles. They are yet to lose a match. Their only let up in their performance was the draw away to AC Milan. They made up for it with a 3-1 hammering of the same team in the return fixture. AC Milan, on the other hand, are not far off the mark. They have won one match, drawn two and lost one, giving them a total of five points. Close on their heels are Ajax who have lost two, won one and drawn the other. At the bottom are Celtic who have only managed one win against Ajax.
This brings to a close the group by group analysis of the EUFA Champions League by which we hope that we will get an insight of which teams are likely to progress past the group stages. Let us meet again when all six games have come and gone. Then, we will look at the qualifying teams, their record and do the most fun part about being a couch soccer player-cum-coach; predict the line-ups, the scores and the winners!