Matchday Two Of The Champions League
The 4 English sides are back in action in the Champions League this week and none of them should expect an easy time.
A trip to Portugal will always be a special occasion for Jose Mourinho and the tie with Sporting Lisbon provides a chance for the Blues to finally get into gear in their Champions League campaign. Mourinho knows that the double header against Maribor should provide 6 points for the London side so a win in Lisbon would see Chelsea on 10 points, which means that the final two group games should be less of a concern for them.
What will be a concern for the Chelsea boss is managing the hamstring injury of Diego Costa. It is not as though Costa is letting the injury hamper him, he notched another goal against Aston Villa at the weekend in a 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge but there has to be a concern that he could be out for some time if the injury pops again. With an international break looming, it may be best for Jose to play Diego, get some more goals out of him and then try to manipulate a situation where Costa can receive two weeks rest rather than playing for Spain. It is hardly the trickiest task facing Jose and you have to think that Chelsea will pick up at least a point, but probably all three points, when Jose Mourinho travels back to Portgual on Tuesday.
City need to get back on track
Man City may be at home on Tuesday but they have arguably the tougher task. After a late and cruel defeat in Munich, City will be desperate to get off the mark at home to Roma but this will be no easy tie with Roma coming into this game on the back of mauling CSKA Moscow in their opening game. Ashley Cole will be back on British soil and Totti is still leading the line for Roma. City are likely to welcome back Jo Hart on Tuesday night after the stopper was rested for the 4-2 win over Hull but some City fans will be hoping that Eliaquim Mangala is rested after he turned in an abject performance at the weekend.
Samir Nasri will still be unavailable through injury and City may need to hope that Frank Lampard delivers another goal in the game. The midfielder notched four goals for three games in the run-up to this game and while his long-term future may be undecided at City, popping up with a goal or two in the Champions League may create the need for City to keep Frank around until the end of the season.
Liverpool need to find some form
Liverpool will need to bounce back after the pain of losing an injury time equaliser in the Merseyside Derby and they won’t find their trip to Basel in Switzerland too easy. Liverpool struggled to grab a win over Champions League novices Ludogorets Razgrad. An extremely soft penalty kick turned the game in the Reds favour and they may need such favourable decisions to go their way to come away from Switzerland with a win. With a double header against Real Madrid next on the cards for Liverpool, they really need to take at least a point from their game on Wednesday night but with a shaky defence and the forward line not springing to life yet, it could be that Liverpool need Steven Gerrard to haul them through a tough tie once again.
After an opening day defeat in Dortmund, Arsenal will be delighted to be at the Emirates, but it is not as though Galatasaray represent easy opposition. Arsenal have toiled but ultimately triumphed against Turkish opposition on numerous occasions in recent years and the same outcome is likely on Wednesday night. There will be a number of scrapes and scares along the way but Arsenal should have enough to get beyond their opponents although the number of injuries and the bruise to their ego caused by the North London derby draw may see Arsenal needing some time to get into gear on Wednesday night