Posted by Barrie on Wednesday, 21 October 2009

3 English Sides Top Champions League Groups

Liverpool's late 2-1 home defeat by Lyon on Tuesday night has put their qualification under serious threat, now 3 points behind Lyon who hold the second spot after Fiorentina have won all 3 of their opening games. Liverpool must avoid defeat in the return fixture in France, ideally winning if they don't want to continue their European football this season in the Europa League.

It's been a tough start for the Reds this season with their defence playing poorly and a lack creativity in midfield other than Steven Gerrard, who was replaced in the first half after picking up an injury that makes him a doubt for this weekend's big match with Manchester United in the Premier League. Up front, Dirk Kuyt hasn't been a regular goalscorer at Liverpool and David N'Gog looks like he's only playing to make up the numbers. Fernando Torres is leading the line on his own up front and Liverpool are relying on him and Steven Gerrard more than ever. Their early league form is starting to raise questions about their ability to qualify for the Champions League again next season.
Liverpool to qualify from Group E: 5/4

Arsenal conceded a stoppage time equaliser in Alkmaar to drop their 100% record in group H, but a 5 point lead over the Dutch side who sit 3rd is looking very comfortable for the Gunners. They're playing with confidence and looking very good in all competitions, but I think the lack of leadership and a dependable goalkeeper will eventually cost them in this competition. I wouldn't rule them out completely, but there's a lot more stronger sides out there that Arsenal have avoided in their group and therefore haven't been tested against.
Arsenal to win Champions League: 10/1

Manchester United are looking very good as well, stealing a late winner in Moscow this evening in a tough match that maintains their 100% record in group B and would be all-but-qualified with a victory against CSKA in the return match on November 3rd with 2 games to spare. Wins in Turkey and Russia have shown United's credentials and will always be serious contenders in this competition and any they enter with Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm. Strength in depth is important and they've got that.
Manchester United to win Champions League: 7/1

Chelsea steamrolled a lacklustre Atletico Madrid side this evening despite being held out for 40 minutes. With their 100% record, 1 more win from their final 3 games will guarantee them progress. They've kept clean sheets in all 3 of their games too and with Manchester United they look like England's best hope of lifting this year's trophy. Strength in depth is an understatement and Carlo Ancelotti was brought in to lift this trophy for a 3rd time in his career as a manager, so will make this competition his number 1 priority.
Chelsea to win Champions League: 5/1

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