By DAN KARELL
Arsenal, Napoli, and Borussia Dortmund are all hoping to avoid a scenario where they finish level on points, heading into the final UEFA Champions League group stage match day.
If Arsenal fall to Napoli by a margin of three goals or more and Dortmund take care of business at Marseille, all three clubs could finish tied on points, and it would see Arsenal miss out on advancing to the knockout round. Arsene Wenger’s team have been boosted by the play of Olivier Giroud and the return from injury of Lukas Podolski but they begin a stretch of six matches in 21 days and need to avoid a collapse against rival manager Rafa Benitez.
Last year’s Champions League finalists Dortmund will be hoping for a Napoli draw or defeat as well.
Elsewhere in the Champions League, both Chelsea and Barcelona head into their final matches with the top spot in their groups not yet secured.
Chelsea host Steaua Bucharest in their final group stage match, hoping to improve from their inconsistent form in both the English Premier League and Champions League. The English club suffered yet another defeat to FC Basel after struggling against them last year in the Europa League, and Jose Mourinho has called for his team to keep their foot on the pedal once they take a lead.
Scottish champions Celtic have been eliminated from further European competition, but they’ll head down to Barcelona hoping to upset the Spanish giants one more time. Barcelona rebounded from two straight defeats with a rout of Cartagena in the Copa Del Rey and they only really need a draw to secure the top place in Group H. Head coach Gerardo Martino has backed Neymar, who hasn’t yet scored in the Champions League, to be a goal scorer in the style of Cesc Fabregas, Pedro, and Alexis Sanchez from the wing.
Jermaine Jones and Schalke 04 have a difficult test on their hands when they host FC Basel, but a win would allow them to progress into the knockout stages of the Champions League. Anything less and they’ll be heading into the Europa League.
Here is a rundown of today’s UEFA Champions League action:
2:45pm – Napoli vs. Arsenal – Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes
2:45pm – AC Milan vs. Ajax – Fox Sports 2
2:45pm – Chelsea vs. Steaua Bucharest – Fox Soccer Plus
2:45pm – Barcelona vs. Celtic – Fox Sports Net/MSG Plus
2:45pm – Atletico Madrid vs. FC Porto – Fox Soccer 2Go
2:45pm – Austria Wien vs. Zenit – Fox Soccer 2Go
2:45pm – Olympique Marseille vs. Borussia Dortmund – Fox Soccer 2Go
2:45pm – Schalke 04 vs. FC Basel – Fox Soccer 2Go
What do you think of these match-ups? Do you see Arsenal pulling out a positive result at Napoli? Think that Chelsea can top Group E? Hoping for another Celtic upset of Barcelona?
Share your thoughts below.