Arsenal's Lukas Podolski (C) celebrates with team mate Per Mertesacker (L) and Carl Jenkinson after scoring against Southampton during their English Premier League soccer match at the Emirates Stadium in London September 15, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Dylan Martinez (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
The 2012-13 Champions League Group Stage sees its first round of games take place on Tuesday. 32 club squads will compete to see which will prevail Europe's top club. Here is a look at Group B.
Arsenal had a good weekend as they destroyed Southhampton 6-1 as a preparation for their match against Montpelier. However, it comes at a cost as number one keeper Wojciech Szvzesny will not be playing as he is suffering from an ankle injury. But with such talent as Lukas Podolski, Gervinho, Santi Cazorla, and Theo Walcott this squad should be considered one of the favorites in the group. Last year they managed to win their group in the Champions League. That group also included Olympiacos which should give them some familiarity. This is a tough group, but Arsenal should be considered a favorite nonetheless.
Like Us on Facebook
The German squad is off to a solid start in the Bundesliga with 2 wins and a draw. They have a solid squad that includes Ibrahim Affelay, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Klaas Huntelaar, Jermaine Jones, and Lewis Holtby. After years of trudging in mediocrity of the Bundesliga, the squad finally propelled itself into the top three and looks to maintain itself there. The task will be difficult for them in this group, but with Montepelier struggling in the French Ligue and Olympiacos still an unpredictable force, this squad has a great chance at getting out of the group.
Last year's French Champions are off to a dreadful start with just one win and three losses through five matches that have them sitting near the bottom of the standings. In those five games, the squad that was able to produce 68 goals in 38 gmaes a year ago has only scored six times; three of those goals came in one games. Montpelier would be the favorite to take the group if not for such poor play during the last month. If this team regains composure and plays up to expectations who knows how well they do in this group.
The Greeks come into the tournament for the second straight year. They had a great run last season that ended with a third place finish in Group F behind Marseille and Arsenal. But they missed a top two spot by just one point and were potent throughout with three wins and three losses. They have gotten off to a strong 3-0 start in the Greek League and there is no reason to believe that with a slightly weaker group, they cannot make it through to the next round.
|TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Montpellier||v||Arsenal||Group B||Stade de la Mosson|
|2:45 ET||Olympiakos||v||Schalke 04||Group B||Karaiskaki Stadium|
|WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Arsenal||v||Olympiakos||Group B||Emirates Stadium|
|2:45 ET||Schalke 04||v||Montpellier||Group B||Veltins-Arena|
|WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Arsenal||v||Schalke 04||Group B||Emirates Stadium|
|2:45 ET||Montpellier||v||Olympiakos||Group B||Stade de la Mosson|
|TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Schalke 04||v||Arsenal||Group B||Veltins-Arena|
|2:45 ET||Olympiakos||v||Montpellier||Group B||Karaiskaki Stadium|
|WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Arsenal||v||Montpellier||Group B||Emirates Stadium|
|2:45 ET||Schalke 04||v||Olympiakos||Group B||Veltins-Arena|
|TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Montpellier||v||Schalke 04||Group B||Stade de la Mosson|
|2:45 ET||Olympiakos||v||Arsenal||Group B||Karaiskaki Stadium|
Arsenal: 3 wins, 1 loss, 2 draw, 11 pts
Olympiakos: 3 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw, 10 pts
Schalke 04: 2 wins, 2 losses, 2 draws, 8 pts
Montpelier: 1 win, 2 losses, 3 draws, 6 pts
Arsenal wins the group, but it winds up being a lot tighter than one might imagine. Olypiakos finally has its day as the number two team in the group.
Read about other groups at the Champions League.
Group A Preview: ASG, FC Porto, Dyano Kiev, Dinamo Zagreb
Group B Preview: Olympiakos, Montpelier, Schalke 04, Arsenal
Group C Preview: AC Milan, Malaga, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht
Group D Preview: Real madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund
Group E Preview: Juventus, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Nordsjaelland
Group F Preview: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, Bate Borisov
Group G Preview: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic
Group H Preview : Manchester United, Braga, Galatasaray, CFR Cluj-Napoca