Monday, 17 September 2012

The Unpredictability of The Champions League

Group A:- Porto, Dynamo Kiev, PSG, Dinamo Zagreb
Group B:- Arsenal, Schalke, Olympiakos, Montpellier
Group C:- Milan, Zenit, Anderlecht, Malaga
Group D:- Real Madrid, Man City, Ajax, Dortmund
Group E:- Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, FC Nordsjaelland
Group F:- Bayern, Valencia, Lille, BATE
Group G:- Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic
Group H:- Manchester United, Braga, Galatasaray, Cluj
The first group features big money spenders PSG, Portuguese Champions Porto, Ukrainian Runners Up Dynamo Kiev and Croatian Champions Dinamo Zagreb. Now the obvious thing to say is that PSG and Porto will cruise through this league and that will probably be the case and after Zagreb's dismal display last year, the two bigger teams will be targeting them for a big win and confidence boost. And Kiev, well they only managed runners up domestically.
My Prediction: PSG 1st, Porto 2nd, Dinamo Zagreb 3rd, Dynamo Kiev 4th

 I think Group B will be a bit tighter, Arsenal have lost their top striker, Robin Van Persie but they are looking strong this year, they have also taken Montpellier's top goal scorer in Olivier Giroud but he has not yet shone at the Emirates. The French side have got off to a very weak start this year managing only 1 win out of 5, so they will be low on morale and lacking any real form so the weaker two teams in Schalke and Olympiakos should look to pounce on that. Schalke do however have some form coming into this as they are undefeated in the league so if key players like Lewis Holtby show up, they could cause some problems in this league. I don't think that Olympiakos can cause any problems when you compare their squad to the squads of the other 3 teams so I wouldn't bet on any surprises from them.

My Prediction: Arsenal 1st, Schalke 2nd, Montpellier 3rd, Olympiakos 4th

Group C is a battle for second place with Milan looking like the out and out favourites to win the group comfortably. I would put it between the richest and the poorest a.k.a Zenit and Malaga. Anderlechts squad just doesn't look strong enough to challenge. Personally, Zenit seem the stronger of the two so I would bet on them to take the second knock out spot
My Prediction: Milan 1st, Zenit 2nd, Malaga 3rd, Anderlecht 4th

 Group D (The group of death in this competition). The champions of Spain, England, Holland and Germany. I would say in this group, there are two contenders for the trophy and I believe it will be those two (Real Madrid and Manchester City) that come out on top. Madrid always look strong at this stage in the competition and Mancini's men will have looked back on last year and learned from it. Borussia and Ajax have been unlucky with this draw because in another group, they could have qualified easily.
My Prediction: Real Madrid 1st, Manchester City 2nd, Borussia Dortmund 3rd, Ajax 4th

The reigning champions Chelsea have been drawn in a group that they should be confident about qualifying from. Only Juventus could cause any threat but with Chelsea's brilliant team and brilliant start to the season, I think they should hold off Juventus, at least at home anyway. And I think it will be Juventus that take the second spot. Shakhtar did win their league but apart from them and Kiev (Dynamo) the league is weak. Finally, FC Nordsjaelland who are in the Danish league, seem to me to be the weakest teamin the competition so I wouldn't expect any upsets from them.

My Prediction: Chelsea 1st, Juventus 2nd, Shakhtar Donetsk 3rd, FC Nordsjaelland 4th

As is the case with Group D, I feel this Group is also a battle for second. Bayern Munich look the strongest team by quite a margin on paper and I feel that only a huge surprise result would stop them from topping this table. As for the battle for second, I feel this is between Lille and Valencia as the Belarusian league doesn't exactly produce the highest quality football, even if they did manage one place in the Champions League. This is a difficult decision as the two sides are playing at around the same level. Both finished third in their domestic season and the quality of player at the clubs is about the same. I think I would tip Valencia because of the experience at the club but it is close as both have had extremely equal starts to the season.

My Prediction: Bayern Munich 1st, Valencia 2nd, Lille 3rd, BATE 4th

Group G... another battle for second with Barcelona looking like the obvious choice to top this group and I would even go as far to say that they will win it comfortably. The other three clubs look quite even but after Celtic's poor start to the new Scottish season, I would count them out of it. Spartak have also had a weak start but Benfica on the other hand are top of the Primeira Liga. For this reason I would say Benfica will take that second spot
My Prediction: Barcelona 1st, Benfica 2nd, Spartak Moscow 3rd, Celtic 4th

Group H includes the fourth and final English team in this competition and like the three others, I would expect Manchester United to qualify from their group. The question is, who will take that second place? None of the three clubs are extremely strong but i would say Braga look the strongest even if Galatasary and Cluj won their leagues last year. But it is fair to say the Turkish and the Romanian leagues aren' the best leagues to watch quality football.

My Prediction: Manchester United 1st, Braga 2nd, Galatasaray 3rd, Cluj 4th


No comments:

Post a Comment