Champions League Preview: Arsenal and Chelsea look to clinch
On Tuesday, Matchday Five of the Champions League group stage rolls out with multiple sides looking to secure a berth in February’s knock-out phase.
Here are the key details for each match.
Zenit St Petersburg v. Atletico Madrid, 12:00pm ET, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2Go
Zenit St Petersburg could join already-qualified Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League with victory over the Spanish side combined with a Porto slip up against Austria Vienna.
Zenit will be without Danny and Cristian Ansaldi while red-hot Atletico, who have 16 wins in 20 competitive matches this season, will be without Diego Costa, David Villa, Arda Turan, Tiago and Filipe Luis, who all have the night off.
Basel v. Chelsea, 2:45pm ET, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Soccer 2Go
Chelsea travel to Switzerland knowing a draw with Basel will put them into the knockout stages of the tournament while a victory ensures the Blues top spot in the group. Jose Mourinho’s men lost to Basel 2-1 in the opening match of the group stage but have won all three of their matches since then, putting them atop the Group E table with nine points.
Chelsea will be without David Luiz, out with bruised patella tendon, while Basel must get on without Chile midfielder Marcelo Diaz and defender Behrang Safari.
Arsenal v. Marseille, 2:45pm ET, FOX Sports 2 and FOX Soccer 2Go
An Arsenal win at bottom-of-the-group Marseille combined with Borussia Dortmund failing to defeat Napoli will send Arsene Wenger’s to the knockout stages for the 14th successive season. For Marseille, fourth-place in Group F was confirmed when they lost 3-2 to Napoli last time out.
Arsenal welcome the return of Mathieu Flamini from suspension and Theo Walcott from injury as both look to prove themselves in the Gunners’ increasingly crowded midfield.
Celtic v. AC Milan, 2:45pm ET, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2Go
Celtic must win to continue on in the Champions League while a win for Milan, combined with a Barcelona win over Ajax in Amsterdam, will see The Old Lady join Barcelona in the last 16.
Celtic return James Forrest and Mikael Lustig while Scott Brown is out serving the final match of the three-game ban he received following his red card against Barcelona on Matchday Two. For Milan, Philippe Mexes and midfielder Sulley Muntari lead the extensive list of injuries plaguing Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri.
Borussia Dortmund v. Napoli, 2:45pm ET, FOX Soccer 2Go
At third-place on six points, Borussia Dortmund have their backs against the wall as only a win will keep their hopes of making the last 16 while second-place Napoli require only a draw to confirm their place in the knockout stage.
Dortmund will be without long-term absentees Neven Subotic, Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer and Ilkay Gundogan while the visitors miss defenders Camilo Zuniga and Giandomenico Mesto with knee injuries.
Porto v. Austria Vienna, 2:45pm ET, FOX Soccer 2Go
Austria Vienna need a win combined with a Zenit defeat to already qualified group leaders Atletico Madrid if they want any hope of bowing out of the group stage early. But it won’t come easy as Porto, just one point behind second-placed Zenit, will be equally motivated to keep the UCL dreams alive.
Porto has doubts over Algeria striker Nabil Ghilas while Juan Quintero and Hector Herrera are both expected to return.
Steaua Bucharest v. Schalke, 2:45pm ET, FOX Soccer 2Go
With a victory over Steaua Bucharest combined with a Chelsea win over Basel, Schalke can book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday night. For the Romanians, only a win will do.
Schalke will be without long-term absentees Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Kyriakos Papadopoulos while goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand and midfielder Leon Goretzka are also unavailable through injury.