This week had another eventful round of the Champions League Group Stage. In the 5th round of the group stages, 5 more seats were grabbed at the knockout stage table. Shakhtar, Chelsea, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, and Bayer Leverkusen have all qualified. They are joining PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Dortmund, Barcelona, and Porto. There are still 5 more seats and on December 9th and 10th, we will find out who those 5 teams are.
Only three days after setting the all time Spanish La Liga scoring record, Messi set another record. He not only passed Raul, he scored 3 goals to put his Champions League total at 74. He led the line for Barca as they won 4-0 over APOEL. Another big point in the match was Luis Suarez opening his Barcelona account. The goal was a flashback to Suarez in a Liverpool shirt. The other game in their group had PSG defeat Ajax 3-1 behind two goals from Cavani sandwiched around a Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal.
The English took it to the Germans. There were 3 matches featuring EPL teams and Bundesliga teams. In all three matches the English side won. Chelsea dominated their former coach Roberto Di Matteo and Schalke 5-0. Chelsea has now qualified and won their group. Schalke will also qualify with some help from Chelsea, as Sporting CP have 2 more points than Schalke following their 3-1 victory over Maribor. Arsenal defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-0 to give Arsenal a seat in the round of 16. Anderlecht qualified for the Europa League with their 2-0 victory of Galatasaray. Lastly, Manchester City hosted Bayber Munich. City took an early 1-0 lead behind Aguero from the spot. Benatia was sent off and Munich were faced with playing 70 minutes with 10 men. Munich, however, took control of the game and Alonso equalized from a free kick before Lewandowski gave Munich a 2-1 lead right before halftime. City made their numerical advantage count, as Aguero equalized on the break. In stoppage time, it was Aguero again who got a shot off and won the game for City. They now have hope of advancing to the round of 16, thanks to Roma and CSKA Moscow drawing 1-1 in Moscow when CSKA equalized in the 93 minute to prevent Roma from qualifiying for the next round. Roma and Manchester City will now face off for the last spot in group, unless CSKA can pull off the upset in Munich.
Elsewhere in Champions League, Real Madrid defeated Basel 1-0, giving them 15 consecutive wins. They are a force right now and look like the best team in the world. That loss for Basel, coupled with Liverpool’s 2-2 draw, means that they will meet in Anfield for a place in the last 16. Basel will only need a draw or a victory, while Liverpool will need to win to qualify. Juventus won 2-0 to set themselves up with a chance of qualifying with just one more point needed. Atletico Madrid beat Olympiacos 4-0 to qualify for the Round of 16. Despite losing 1-0 to Monaco, Bayer Leverkusen still qualified. Zenit kept their hopes alive with a 1-0 victory over Benfica. Porto beat BATE Borisov 3-0 and Athletic Club beat Shakhtar 1-0.
Looking forward to this weekend, Spain is the country to watch this weekend, as again 4 of the top 6 face off this weekend. Real Madrid looks to extend its win streak to 16, as they travel to the south coast to face Malaga on Saturday. Barcelona travel to Valencia this weekend to play. Suarez will look to now open his La Liga scoring account. Atletico Madrid hosts Deportivo de La Coruna. Right now, David Moyes is taking charge of his first home match for Real Sociedad as they host Elche. They were at the time of writing this winning 2-0.
In Germany, Munich will look to get back to winning ways as they travel to Hertha. Dortmund travel to Entracht Franckfurt as they look to distance themselves from the relegation zone. However, the big match of the weekend is the showdown for 2nd place in the Bundesliga. 2nd Place Wolfsburg plays hosts to 3rd place Borussia Monchengladbach. The two teams are 3 points apart, and this match could go a long way in deciding who comes in 2nd behind Munich.
In Italy, the biggest game will not take place until Monday when Sampdoria host Napoli in the battle for 3rd place. Napoli has a 1 point lead over Sampdora. The leaders Juventus host Torino and Roma hosts Inter Milan.
Lastly in the EPL this weekend, West Brom will host Arsenal. Arsenal will look to keep the momentum going following their win over Dortmund, and get back on track in the EPL. United host Hull City as they look to hold on to their top four place. Liverpool will look to right the ship and finally get 3 points. The last game on Saturday Sunderland will look to end Chelsea’s unbeaten run in the English Premier League. On Sunday, the shock team of the year, Southampton, host Manchester City in what is currently the battle between 2nd and 3rd in the table. This looks to be the match to see who can keep pace with Chelsea. Spurs host Everton, as they both look to maintain their top half of the table status. All of the EPL teams face a quick turnaround as they have another round of matches midweek.
EPL Pick ‘Em
After my 7-6 win last week, I closed the gap to 76-70 against Buzz.
My picks for the weekend are as follows:
Arsenal 2-1 over West Brom, Aston Villa 1-0 over Burnley, Liverpool 2-2 with Stoke, United 2-1 over Hull, QPR 1-1 with Leicester, Swansea 2-1 over Crystal Palace, West Ham 2-2 with Newcastle, Chelsea 3-1 over Sunderland, Saints 2-1 over City, and Spurs 1-1 with Everton.
Buzz’s picks for the weekend:
Gunners 2-1, Villa 1-0, Liverpool 1-0, United 2-1, , Swansea 2-0, West Ham and Newcastle 2-2, Chelsea 3-0, Manchester City 2-1, Spurs and Everton 2-2
Let’s see how we do this week.