Actions return to Europe today as matchday 2 of the group phase of the UEFA Champions League promises to be a thrilling one, featuring no fewer than six games between teams who won their opening games.
Topping the bill are Benfica’s visit to Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City’s home game with Bayern Munich and Napoli’s trip to Arsenal.
Two sides with work to do after slipping up on Matchday 1 are 2012 champions Chelsea and last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund. After slumping at home to Basel the Londoners will be intent on taking something from their trip to Bucharest, while Jurgen Klopp’s men need to bounce back fast from their reverse at Napoli.
The match of the day is between Arsenal and Napoli in Group F at the Emirates Stadium, London starting from 20:45.
Though dark horses for the European title, these two sides have made fast starts to the season, winning their opening group matches and installing themselves at the top of their respective league championships, albeit briefly in the case of Napoli, who now lie second to Roma.
Sticking to the same transfer policy they have pursued for the last few seasons, Arsenal have added no one else but Mesut Ozil to their squad. The German has slotted in straightaway in North London and his polished passing has helped the Gunners take a two-point lead in the Premier League.
The Italians, meanwhile, have shown that there is life after Edinson Cavani, with Gonzalo Higuain having already earned his place in the hearts of the fans, Marek Hamsik taking over at the team’s figurehead, and Goran Pandev – the scorer of a match-winning brace against Genoa at the weekend – proving just as dangerous as ever when he drops into space.
The two sides have never met in the competition, though Napoli coach Rafael Benitez has tasted victory over Arsenal before, guiding Liverpool to a 5-3 aggregate win in the 2007/08 quarter-finals.
UEFA Champions League Fixtures
Tuesday 1 October 2013
FC Basel Vs Schalke 04 19:45
S/Buch’t Vs Chelsea 19:45
Arsenal Vs Napoli 19:45
B/Dortmund Vs Marseille 19:45
Zenit St P Vs A/Vienna 17:00
Porto Vs Atl Madrid 19:45
Ajax V AC Milan 19:45
Celtic V Barcelona 19:45