The Champions League reaches a crucial point this week as teams embark on a home and away ‘double-header’ in the third and fourth group fixtures, so we’ve looked at the four English clubs’ form in the last few seasons to try and unearth any clues as to how they may fare at this stage of proceedings.
In each of the last three seasons United have emerged from their annual Champions League double header with maximum points after taking on Braga, Otelul Galati and Bursaspor and the last time they dropped points at this stage was at home to CSKA Moscow in 2009 having already beaten them in Russia.
Wins against Otelul could not save them from dropping into the Europa League in 2011/12, but with four points in the bag already from David Moyes’ first two Champions League group stage games the 3/5 about United topping Group A would swiftly disappear should they do a number on Real Sociedad home and away.
The Premier League-leaders have replicated their domestic form on the European stage so far this term with wins against Marseille and Napoli putting them in Group F’s driving seat, but at this stage last season Arsene Wenger’s side could only take a point at Schalke and were on the end of a 2-0 defeat at home to the German side.
Arsenal face a Borussia Dortmund outfit who sit just a point behind Bundesliga-leaders Bayern Munich at the Emirates and the Gunners’ recent double-header debacle against a German club suggests the 21/10 about Jurgen Klopp’s team winning is worth backing.
A 2-1 loss at Shakhtar Donetsk started the malaise that enveloped the Stamford Bridge side’s season in 2012/13 and despite winning the reverse fixture in west London the then holders couldn’t get out of a group that also included Serie A giants Juventus.
However, the Blues won three and drew one of their four double-header matches previous to the loss in Ukraine and in Jose Mourinho’s last spell in charge were victorious in four out of six matches – drawing with Barcelona at the Camp Nou in another.
Last season’s Arsenal-botherers Schalke are up next at Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea have won each of their home matches in double-headers over the past few years and should see them off at odds of 13/20.
The blue half of Manchester only made their Champions League debut two years ago so there’s less form in the book to go on than their more established domestic rivals and it’s difficult to draw any conclusions from their two double-headers so far.
Victories home and away in 2011/12 against a Villarreal side who would go onto be relegated from La Liga and one point from their two games against Ajax last term both preceded early exits from the competition.