Crunch time in the Champions League for English clubs

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Depay set to take on his former club PSV Eindhoven
Depay set to take on his former club PSV Eindhoven

England's 'big four' face crucial matches in the Champions League this week and here is your guide to the key games.



Chelsea will qualify for the knock-out stages if they pick up a win in Israel and Dynamo Kiev fail to record a victory against FC Porto in Portugal, which is the likely scenario in a weak group that has always appeared to have two outstanding teams.

The Blues are fortunate to have been thrown into a foursome featuring a Maccabi side that lack the quality to test their fragile confidence, with the promise from Blues boss Jose Mourinho to top the group likely to come down to a final game showdown with Porto at Stamford Bridge on December 9th.

ONE TO WATCH: Diego Costa

After his winning goal against Norwich on Saturday, Chelsea will be hoping their chief goal scorer is about to bounce back to top form.

VERDICT: Even in poor form, Chelsea will have too much for Maccabi.


Nothing less than a win will do for Arsenal after their chastening experience of being hammered 5-1 by Bayern Munich in their last match, yet they somehow still have a shot of getting through to the last 16.

Sitting six points behind second placed Olympiacos with just two games to play is hardly the scenario Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had in mind for Group F, but a win against Zagreb and a big win in Greece in his side’s final group match may still see them scrape through.

ONE TO WATCH: Alexis Sanchez

Not at his brilliant best at times in recent months, Arsenal need their Chilean magician to fire on all cylinders from this point forward.

VERDICT: Arsenal to keep their hopes of progress alive with a win.



A win for United at Old Trafford will ease them into the last-16 with a game to spare, but they know from recent experience that PSV are a dangerous counter-attacking threat.

While their defeat in Eindhoven back in September was overshadowed by the horrific leg break suffered by left-back Luke Shaw, the reality was they had been outsmarted by a side that exploited a lack of cutting edge in Van Gaal’s side. It’s a theme that has continued in the months since and may be an issue again on Wednesday.

ONE TO WATCH: Memphis Depay

After his improved performance against Watford at the weekend, Depay will hope to continue on an upward curve against his former club at Old Trafford.

VERDICT: United could be hit on the counter attack, so don't be surprised to see PSV snatch a point.


It was hard to envisage a scenario that would have seen City qualify for the knockout stages before Juventus after the Italians won in Manchester in the first round of fixtures, but battling displays from Manuel Pellegrini’s men have created that scenario heading into this game in Turin.

Juve remain unbeaten in Group D and their two draws have meant that the progress of last year’s beaten finalists has been delayed, but they will join City in the last-16 with a win on Wednesday and a draw is more than likely to be enough as well. Top spot in the group is on the line in this high profile battle.

ONE TO WATCH: Mario Mandzukic

A powerhouse Croatian forward who scored against City back in September, his brand of rugged attacking play will seriously test the defence of Pellegrini’s side.

VERDICT: Juventus to win.