After a long wait, the Uefa Champions League is back this week. We take a look at the top matches and look at possible outcomes for the various encounters today. With less than 7 hours to go, we take a look at the most anticipated matches of the day.
Barcelona vs. Roma
Barcelona to win
Any fixture against Barcelona at the Nou camp is a hard one to win. Roma have won 3 of their last 5 Serie A games compared to Barcelona’s 5 out of 5 in their last Liga BBVA matches. With their most recent performance against Real Madrid at the Spanish capital, it’s going to be a stern test for their Italian counterparts.
With their current form, Barcelona are currently seen as the best team in the world. I don’t see Roma getting a point from this tie after their 1-1 draw in Italy. The goal scoring form of Barcelona forwards would prove too hard for the Italians to handle. The return of the Barcelona magician Lionel Messi is certainly a boost for the Catalans.
Arsenal vs. Dinamo Zagreb
Arsenal to win
With Arsenals UCL campaign coming to a possible end with a loss from this match, they would do everything to ensure a win from this match. Coming from a disappointing defeat over the weekend to mid table West Brom, they wouldn’t want to build on their misery. Having already suffered defeat to their Croatian counterparts, the Gunners wouldn’t want a similar feat to happen in home soil.
Dinamo Zagreb who are currently placed second in their domestic league are going to be without one of their key figures who is currently serving a 4 year ban for failing a drug test. Arsenal are also without some of their big names like Theo Walcott, Alex Chamberlain and Francis Coquelin their midfield warrior who has marshalled their midfield since being recalled from loan in January.
Arsenal are going to look to Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and goalkeeper Petr Cech to keep them in the competition.
Bayern Munich vs. Olympiakos
Bayern Munich to win
This should be a fairly easy match for the Germans to win considering how prolific they’ve been and their dominance in the modern game of football. Currently lying 8 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table, the Germans have shown their robustness in defense and fluidity going forward. Olympiakos who also lie at the crest of the Greek Superleague, have also beaten Dinamo Zagreb and Arsenal in the UCL this season and are currently placed second in their group.
Bayern who will be without David Alaba for a while would either settle with Rafinha at left back or go with a 3 defender lineup with Mehdi Benatia returning from the sidelines.
Maccabi Tel-Aviv vs. Chelsea
Chelsea to win
Having already beaten Maccabi Tel-Aviv in England, Chelsea wouldn’t want to repeat the incident at Maribor last season. A convincing first leg win would mean that the English champions have an upper hand in this tie. With a disappointing start to the season, Chelsea have currently picked up 14 points from 13 league games and currently lie outside the top 10 places in the league. Their Israeli counterparts on the other hand are currently in 1st place but lie at the bottom of the UCL group with Chelsea currently in third place.
Following a recent run of impressive performances, the weekend win was their first in a fairly long time for Chelsea. Maccabi on the other hand recorded a convincing 3-0 win over Hapoel Haifa in the Ligat HaAl. Chelsea would be hoping for a win in this match to be able to compete for the pole position in the group and for their front man Diego Costa to return to his best in todays fixture.
Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Valencia
Zenit for the win
Being the only team in the UCL to have won all their games, I would fancy Zenit to continue their winning streak in the UCL. Regardless of the result from this match, Zenit will remain at the top of the group but a loss for Valencia and a win for AA Gent would mean they drop one place to 3rd position.