After Manchester City and Arsenal both failed to secure a win at home, this week we look ahead to how Chelsea and Manchester united may fare away from familiar surroundings.
Manchester city and Arsenal both failed to secure what would have been a vital home win against two of the toughest teams still left in the competition. Both of the English clubs had more than enough opportunities to get a goal under their belts, with the talk of Wednesday night being Mesut Özil’s penalty miss; undoubtedly a turning point in the game. As for city Demichelis at the back was a cause for concern right from kick off and he did no favours for himself by being sent off. Both teams will look ahead to the away fixture and will hope to salvage something, no matter how unlikely it is, an all out attacking display may be necessary.
United head to Greece in their Tuesday night tie against Olympiakos, the reds will be looking to maintain their 100% record in the champions league, this season. A statistic that myself and every other United fan around the world is more than happy to see after repeated stumbles in the premier league, FA cup and League cup. As for the champions league fixture, United are favourites, purely based on past merit and the fact that as I mentioned earlier, they remain unbeaten in this competition. The team selection will be an interesting one, with no Jones, or Evans it will most likely be Ferdinand and Vidic at the back (although Rafael could feature which would inevitably mean Smalling would come in at centre back) , something of a rare sight nowadays. Furthermore Mata can not feature due to him being cup tied. In past years, what we could expect from united is hard working wingers and a fast counter attack, a tactic which Moyes would be smart to stick with. Something that has been mentioned in the press, is that if Moyes wants to gain champions league football for next season, his best chance to do so is by winning it this season. I myself am not convinced this is possible, Semi finals seems about as far as they can go, due to squad restraints, mental attitude and the poor form that has plagued them all season. Against Olympiakos however, most people would be very surprised if they failed to win and win comfortably for that matter on Tuesday night.
After last week where the English teams went into both ties as the underdogs, this week, the tables have turned. Chelsea travel to turkey to face Galatasary, a game which will see ex-blue Drogba and Wesley Sneijder return to face Mourinho. The blues have the strongest chance out of the English teams left in the competition, (since city were beaten by barca last week) due to their strength depth and veteran manager. Mourinho has previously won the competition with Porto and most recently Inter Milan in 2010. The key to Chelsea’s game will come from a solid defense which they will have thanks to the return of john terry and a midfield willing to control the game and find holes in the Galatasaray back four. 4-5-1/4-2-3-1 would be the likely formation for Mourinho, overloading the midfield and controlling the pace away from home would be desirable for the blues. Chelsea will however will be wary of the turkish side due to Jose’s Madrid being defeated at the quarter finals stage of the competition last stage, they only went through on aggregate due to a successful home win. The games this week seem largely cut and dry, with both teams expecting to pick up vital away wins which will make their path to the next round much easier.