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Champions League: previews for the crunch games this week

November 06,2018 13:15

Monaco and Club Brugge have one point apiece after three games, so will be hoping that Borussia Dortmund beat Atlético Madrid in Spain in the other game to give them a chance of progressing. Monaco need to be ready to pounce and, at the very least, ...and more »

We’re halfway through the group stage in the Champions League and it’s getting tight. The results of these five games will go some way to deciding which clubs will still be in the competition after Christmas.
Monaco v Club Brugge, Tuesday, 5.55pm
Thierry Henry has not yet had the impact Monaco were hoping for when he returned to the club as manager, but his first European game at home is his perfect chance to pick up the first victory of his managerial career. He has overseen two draws and two defeats so far, including a 1-1 draw at Club Brugge last month. Henry needs to guide his team to victory this week if they are to have any hopes of reaching the knockout stages.

Monaco and Club Brugge have one point apiece after three games, so will be hoping that Borussia Dortmund beat Atlético Madrid in Spain in the other game to give them a chance of progressing. Monaco need to be ready to pounce and, at the very least, victory on Tuesday night will make them favourites for the Europa League spot.
Monaco have lost their last five European home matches. In fact, the last time they won at the Stade Louis II in the Champions League they were beating Borussia Dortmund to reach the semi-finals in 2017. The visit of Club Brugge is an ideal opportunity to break that run of defeats. The Belgian side have not won a game in the competition since 2005 and Monaco will be boosted by the return of an experienced goalkeeper in the form of Diego Benaglio.
Tottenham v PSV, Tuesday, 8pm
Similarly, Tottenham and PSV occupy the bottom two spots in their group with a point each after their 2-2 draw in Eindhoven last month. Spurs were desperately unlucky to not come away with the spoils in the Netherlands. They struck the woodwork in the first half and had a Davinson Sánchez goal ruled out for a perceived offside by Harry Kane, who wasn’t interfering with play when the Colombian’s shot was taken.
The absence of Hugo Lloris – who is suspended following his late red card in the reverse fixture – isn’t perhaps the blow it once would have been but Tottenham have crucial absentees in midfield, where Mauricio Pochettino is likely to be without Mousa Dembélé, Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama.

The Dutch champions hope to welcome Steven Bergwijn back into the team after he missed the reverse fixture through injury. No PSV player has completed more successful dribbles than the 21-year-old (28) this season. He has been instrumental in the Eredivisie, where PSV are top of the table after 11 straight victories. They have scored 39 goals and only conceded four in those 11 games, but their European form has not kept pace; they haven’t won a game in the Champions League since 2015.
Tottenham and PSV will be desperate to win at Wembley and they will also be hoping that Barcelona – who have won all of their games so far – can beat Inter again to open up the group.
Napoli v Paris Saint-Germain, Tuesday, 8pm
Liverpool lead the way in Group C after their comfortable 4-0 win over Red Star Belgrade at Anfield and will expect to return from Serbia with another three points. PSG, then, need a result in Naples. They are currently third in the table, but Ángel Di María’s late strike in the 2-2 draw in Paris has kept their hopes alive.

Both sides come into this fixtures on the back of important Friday night wins. PSG maintained their 100% start to the Ligue 1 season with a 2-1 win over Lille at the Parc des Princes – their 12th straight victory in the league – while Napoli turned on the style to trounce Empoli 5-1 at the Stadio San Paolo, with Dries Mertens scoring a sublime hat-trick.
Neither side will want to rely on their fixture against Liverpool to secure their place in the next round, so both will be going for the victory. PSG are joint-top scorers in the competition (with Barcelona) and Napoli are joint-top scorers in Serie A (with Juventus), so this could be one of the games of the week.
CSKA Moscow v Roma, Wednesday, 5:55pm
CSKA Moscow’s 1-0 win over Real Madrid last month gave us one of the surprise results of this season’s Champions League and helped sum up Julen Lopetegui’s short, ill-fated spell at the club. Nikola Vlasic’s early strike handed the Russian side all three points against the defending champions but they could not repeat the trick against Roma in their next match, going down 3-0 in Italy.
CSKA will be out to avenge that defeat in the reverse fixture and should take confidence from the fact that Roma have won only one of their last six away matches, a run that included three straight defeats to Milan, Real Madrid and Bologna.

The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email.That being said, CSKA have also struggled recently. They have only won two of their last seven matches – one of which was that victory over Real Madrid – and they were knocked out of the Russian Cup by second-tier Tyumen.
Roma have the joint-top scorer in the competition in Edin Dzeko, who sits alongside Lionel Messi with five goals. If his form continues, expect Roma to pile further misery upon a downtrodden CSKA side.
Juventus v Manchester United, Wednesday, 8pm BST
In the first half of their 1-0 win at Manchester United, Juventus made the home side look like rank amateurs as they played the ball around with ease at Old Trafford. When the sides meet in Turin on Wednesday night, José Mourinho will demand a big improvement from his players, who, to their credit, have ground out 2-1 victories over Everton and Bournemouth since that defeat.

United have lost just one of their last six away matches – their abysmal 3-1 defeat at West Ham – but Juventus have been imperious form this season, both at home and in Europe. They remain unbeaten Serie A, having earned 31 of the 33 points available to them. They are also one of the three teams, along with Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund, who have won all of their games in the Champions League so far. Juventus are unlikely to fear any retaliation from this United side – who have scored just three goals in the competition so far (all of which came against Young Boys).
If Juventus perform to the lofty standards they have set themselves this season, United will face a long 90 minutes in Turin and, crucially, an uphill struggle to progress.
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Champions League,Football,Sport,Tottenham Hotspur,PSV Eindhoven,Monaco,Club Brugge,Napoli,Paris Saint-Germain,CSKA Moscow,Roma,Juventus,Manchester United

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