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Chelsea Champions League Update (11/23/11): Blues & Manchester City Shocked

We are five matches into the Champions League fixtures, and there have definitely been some shockers on the Champions League schedule. Teams that are supposed to already be through to the knockout rounds of the UCL are struggling, and there are some tremendous shocks for teams that are either already into the next stage or are well on their way. Check out our Champions League update through the fixtures completed on November 23rd, 2011!

It has been a ridiculously tough time for the Premier League teams in the Champions League. Manchester City is in the biggest amount of trouble right now. It only has seven points in three matches, and without a win over Bayern Munich in the final fixture of the UCL next month and some help, it will be headed into the Europa League instead of the knockout rounds of the Champions League. The win for Napoli at home against the Citizens ensured that the Italian side is in the driver’s seat. Taking three points against a Villarreal team that has yet to log a point in this competition would send Napoli through to the last 16.

In Group C, Manchester United lost an opportunity to get through to the last 16 of this competition on Tuesday when it was held by Benfica at home with a 2-2 draw. Now, the Red Devils, which could have rested in the final fixture of the UCL group stage, instead know that they need a point from FC Basel just to get through. Barring a tremendous collapse against an Otelul Galati squad that has yet to log a point in its first five fixtures, Benfica is through to the next stage.

The shocking result of the day on Wednesday came when Chelsea FC was beaten by Bayer Leverkusen for the Group E lead. The German side is now almost surely through. Racing Genk was eliminated with a bad 7-0 loss against Valencia, and now, Genk has to contend with Leverkusen in the final fixture. That means that the final fixture of the group between Chelsea and Valencia will be for a spot in the Round of 16. A draw will be good enough to put Valencia through, and it would keep the Blues in the Europa League.

The only one of the English sides in good shape is Arsenal. The Gunners have 11 points in five matches and are into the next round as the Group F leaders. The other three teams in this group are in some trouble, and all three could finish anywhere else on the table. Marseille needs a point in its trip to Germany against Borussia Dortmund, while Olympiakos probably will have to have three points against the Gunners to progress.

Other teams that are already through to the Round of 16…
Inter Milan has 10 points and is through from Group B, while the other three teams are separated by just a total of one point.

Group D is basically said and done with. Real Madrid has a perfect 15 points in five matches, while Ajax Amsterdam has eight points and needs to just keep its goal differential against Lyon to survive into the knockout round.

Group H is done as well, and there are definitely no surprises here. Both Barcelona and AC Milan have dominated, accounting for 21 points between them, and they will be the two teams advancing into the next round.

The surprise of all surprises though, has come in Group G. Apoel Nicosia earned a tough scoreless draw on Russian soil on Wednesday against Zenit St. Petersburg to become the first team from Cypress to ever qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. The Russian side will take on FC Porto in the final stage of this tournament to determine which team will qualify for the second round. Only three points will do for the Portuguese champs, or else it will be the Russian side that is into the next round.

The next set of matches will take place on December 6th and 7th.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Featured


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