As the draw for the Champions League group stage finally got over in Monaco, we were left with some interesting groups. We predict which teams will go through from each group from last four groups in this part II.
FC Barcelona will begin the defence of their fourth Champions League title since 1992 in mid September. Although they might not have it easy, having drawn one of the more tougher group in the group stages. We begin with their group – Group E in part II of our Champions League predictions.
Group E: FC Barcelona, Bayer Leverkusen, AS Roma, Bate Borisov
No team has defended the Champions League title since the European Cup was re-formatted in early 90s. Manchester United have come the closest, losing to the Blaugrana in the final in 2009.
FC Barcelona will be hoping to create another record as they have been doing since that triumph in 2009. However, the certainly will not have it easy from Roma or Leverkusen.
Regardless, they should easily come through as group winners, with Leverkusen and Roma fighting it out for the second spot. Having lost Son to Spurs, Leverkusen will have to compensate for the goals of the South Korean from somewhere else.
Prediction: 1st place: FC Barcelona, 2nd place – AS Roma
Group F: Bayern Munich, Arsenal FC, Olympiacos, Dinamo
Croatian side Dinamo and Greek outfit Olympiacos won’t be easy places to go, but, expect Bayern Munich to go through this group unscathed along with Arsenal FC.
The bigger question is can Arsenal overcome Bayern for the top spot? Given their struggles in the league and lack of a top quality forward, one feels that Arsenal will perform as they did last season – good against lesser opponents, but failing against top sides.
Pep Guardiola’s men are our bet to top the group.
Prediction: 1st place – Bayern Munich, 2nd place – Arsenal FC
Group G: Chelsea FC, FC Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Macabbi Tel Aviv
If Manchester City’s voodoo in the group stage continues to install them in some of the toughest groups, Chelsea FC are exact opposite. Year after year, the London outfit get a group that clubs could dream of. But, take nothing away from them as every year they ensure they come out on top by capitalizing on the rub of the green that comes their way.
However, Chelsea FC group has one negative – the travelling. The London outfit will travel to Portugal, Israel, and Ukraine for the games. If there was one thing they could have made the draw perfect for them was avoiding the long trips. But Jose Mourinho will love the trip back to Portugal to take on Porto. Expect them to win the group rather easily.
Second place also should not be in any doubt. FC Porto should be head and shoulders above the other two sides.
Prediction: 1st place – Chelsea FC, 2nd place – FC Porto
Group H: Zenit, Valencia, Lyon, Gent
This group may not consists of as many glamorous name as City, Juventus, Sevilla, and Gladbach; but along with the group D, this is another group of death.
Zenit, Valencia, Lyon – all three will have close games against each other. Gent are no pushover, either. However, if we have to put our money on someone, Valencia would be the team. Despite losing Otamendi to Manchester City. the Spanish outfit has some very talented players in their rank, including the Spanish international Paco Alcacer.
Zenit will be our second place pick, even though Lyon have a very, very real chance of upsetting them.
Prediction: 1st place – Valencia, 2nd place – Zenit