Shoot! Champions League Matchday Five Preview

Arsenal and Chelsea both head into matchday five hoping to secure qualification to the last 16 whilst Celtic will be looking to keep their own hopes alive.

Arsenal entertain Marseille at the Emirates, and if results go their way Arsene Wenger’s men could also be celebrating qualification through to the knockout stages for a 14th successive season.

The Gunners have Theo Walcott available again after his return at the weekend against former side Southampton and are also able to recall ex-Marseille midfielder Mathieu Flamini, who missed the 2-0 victory on Saturday through suspension.

Qualification would be ensured for Arsenal if they beat bottom of the group Marseille, who the Gunners defeated 2-1 in their opening tie away in France, and Dortmund fail to beat Napoli in Germany.

Elsewhere in Group F, Dortmund host Napoli knowing their fate in this season’s competition could be sealed, and their task will be made even harder without Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic and Marcel Schmelzer, who are all currently injured.

Rafa Benitez’s men will be buoyed by Dortmund’s injuries but also by the fact they beat the Germans on matchday one and a similar result to the 2-1 victory in Italy would be enough to see them through.

Since defeat against Basel in their first group match, Chelsea have won three from three, and if they avoid defeat on Tuesday night, the 2012 champions will progress into the knockout phase.

Mourinho’s side have reacted scored 10 goals since that night at Stamford Bridge and the Portuguese manager is hoping to seal qualification in Switzerland.

On the injury front Chelsea welcome back Fernando Torres after three matches out of the side with a groin strain, though Brazilian David Luiz has been ruled out with a knee injury meaning Gary Cahill and John Terry will continue in defence after Saturday’s comfortable 3-0 win at Upton Park.

Steaua entertain Schalke in the other Group E match and with the Romanian club already eliminated, the German outfit will hope for a favourable result in Switzerland which would also see them progress.

The only other British side in action, Celtic, face a tricky tie with AC Milan in Glasgow knowing only a win will do as they look to keep up their slim hopes of qualifying, as a defeat would see Neil Lennon’s side exit the competition.

The Bhoys will able to call on the services of James Forrest but will be without Scott Brown and Nir Biton, who are both suspended, whilst Adam Matthews and Steven Mouyokolo miss out through injury.

As for the visitors, Milan also have to contend with a lengthy injury list with Phillipe Mexes, Stephan El Shaarawy, Sulley Muntari, Marco Amelia and Mattia De Sciglio all ruled out as the Italian side look for their first away win in Europe this season, though their last away win, against Anderlecht last season, saw them qualify into the last 16.

The other encounter in Celtic’s Group H, sees Barcelona, who have already qualified, look to cement top spot as they travel to Ajax, who currently sit third – a place and point ahead of Celtic.

Elsewhere in Group G, Atletico Madrid, who have already qualified with a perfect record, travel to Russia for the early kick-off with Zenit St. Petersburg hoping to stay ahead of a FC Porto side, currently one point behind them in third, who welcome an Austria Vienna side who have only picked up a solitary point thus far.

First appeared on 26/11/2013


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