Football

Five things to look out for this week in the Champions League

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta

Round four of the Champions League fixtures kicks off on Tuesday. Here are five big things to look our for…

Can Real Madrid cope without Bellingham?

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Jude Bellingham’s perfect start to life at the Santiago Bernabéu suffered a first setback with the 20-year old England international sustaining a shoulder injury in Real Madrid’s league match against Rayo Vallecano. Though Bellingham only joined Los Blancos last summer, he has already become their star man and while it is unclear if his injury will prevent him from being included in the home tie against Sporting Braga, it has already become hard to imagine this Real Madrid side without their starboy.

Will Rashford feature for Man United?

After Marcus Rashford’s controversial birthday celebrations following his side’s 3-0 defeat in the Manchester derby, he was prevented from featuring in the Red Devil’s narrow victory against Fulham with what Erik ten Hag said was an injury problem. It remains unclear if he will play in the Champions League fixture against F.C. Copenhagen, with the forward also having a poor start to the season by his standards. ten Hag’s side have been in turmoil this season with their wingers Jadon Sancho and Antony both falling out of favour with the Dutch manager and Rashford missing games will only serve to exacerbate these issues in the wide areas as their lack of goals is proving detrimental to United’s season.

A big night in Group F

Group F is undoubtedly the most competitive in this season’s Champions League, featuring Newcastle United, PSG, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan. Eddie Howe’s Newcastle travel to Dortmund this round, having been defeated by the German side in their previous encounter. Newcastle will be desperate for a result, since a defeat could well prevent progression to the round of 16. Despite having lost to Newcastle 4-1, PSG currently sit top of the group with six points. The French champions face Milan in good form, having beaten the Italian side 3-0 in France. After losing superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar, PSG have managed to find a more collective team dynamic, with just the one star man remaining in Kylian Mbappe. Milan need a victory to revive any hope of making it out of the group, currently sitting bottom with just two points.

Can Arsenal overcome recent frustrations and get a result against Sevilla?

In the aftermath of yet another VAR controversy, this time coming from Arsenal’s league defeat to Newcastle, manager Mikel Arteta let his frustration be known in his post-match press conference. Gunners fans will have to hope that this mindset does not negatively impact the dressing room as Arsenal prepare to take on Sevilla at the Emirates. Arsenal have won just three of their 11 Champions League group games against Spanish sides, but two of them have come in their three fixtures against Sevilla. Arsenal were beaten by Sevilla earlier on in the competition but should take solace in the fact that Sevilla have not had a Champions League away win since December 2020, against Rennes.

Just how many goals will Manchester City score against Young Boys?

BSC Young Boys have the unfortunate task of having to face reigning champions Manchester City at the Etihad. Pep Guardiola’s team boast a perfect record in their Champions League group after three matches. Even more frightening for the Swiss side is the fact that City face them immediately after having destroyed Bournemouth, with Jeremy Doku registering four assists and a goal in a 6-1 win in which Erling Haaland didn’t even score. City are significant favourites and there will likely be goals galore, even if Haaland does not play. City’s record European victory is a 7-0 triumph over Schalke.

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