UEFA Champions League: Teams get ready to clinch last-16 berth

Chelsea, Arsenal looking to confirm spot for Europe’s coveted prize


Afp November 25, 2013
NEARLY THERE: Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Borussia Dortmund in their last European outing means that they will qualify for the last 16 if they beat Marseille and the German side draw their game with Napoli. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS: Chelsea travel to Switzerland to face FC Basel in the Champions League on Tuesday knowing that a point will be enough to seal their place in the last-16.

As they return to the St Jakob-Park, Chelsea will be looking to extend a run of just one defeat in 13 matches in all competitions.

Veteran midfielder Frank Lampard said he is looking forward to gaining revenge on Basel following that September shocker.

“We can put the record straight on Tuesday,” he said. “We lost at home [to Basel], but we won there last year in the Europa League.

“Let’s try to get that win. Then you can relax in that last game a little bit. We need to go and do the job.”

The margins are fine for Chelsea, as a defeat in Switzerland would leave them just a point clear of Basel, while also giving Schalke the chance to move level on points at the top if they can win away in Bucharest.

Wenger, Cazorla wary of renegade Marseille

Manager Arsene Wenger has warned Arsenal not to underestimate Marseille as the Premier League leaders look to close on a place in the last-16.

Marseille can no longer qualify for the next phase, while Arsenal will go into the match at the Emirates Stadium level on points with Napoli at the top of Group F and with a place in the knockout rounds in sight.

“They started in a difficult position because they lost their first game at home [against Arsenal],” said Wenger.

“They are a good side who went through a difficult period and that difficult period which they had certainly had an impact. I am sure that they will be difficult to beat on Tuesday night.”

Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla echoed his manager’s words of warning, telling the club website, “There is nothing at stake for Marseille because they have zero points, but they are going to make things difficult for us.”

Top spot Barca’s aim in Amsterdam

Injury-struck Barcelona can ensure they finish top of Group H with just a point when they travel to face Ajax.

Gerardo Martino’s men have already qualified for the last-16, however midfielder Cesc Fabregas has echoed his coach’s calls for there to be no excuses despite the absence of a number of key players.

“We want to be prepared for everything that is coming,” he said. “There is total unity in the group and understanding with the coach.”

Meanwhile, captain Roman Weidenfeller has insisted Borussia Dortmund convert their chances against Napoli on Tuesday in a must-win game as last season’s finalists face a group-stage exit.

“We have to win against Napoli at home, it’s as simple as that,” said Weidenfeller. “As I have been saying for a few weeks now, there is a lack of single-mindedness and determination with us at the moment.”

 

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