UEFA Champions League matchday 5 preview: Judgment day for Manchester United as Group A goes down to the wire

Three teams are in a battle for second spot in Group A, and two of them will face off when Manchester United travel to face Galatasaray at the Rams Global Stadium. 

The Red Devils have won just one of their four games this season, with the last being a controversial 4-3 loss to Copenhagen in Denmark to sit bottom of the log on three points, just a point behind their opponents.

They come into this on the back of a resounding 3-0 win over Everton though, and know that defeat against the Turkish side will send them packing. 

Their first encounter at Old Trafford ended 3-2 in favour of the Turks, and avenging that defeat will be top of their agenda.

They have failed to score in their last three away games against them however, which leaves some cause for concern. Gala on the other hand are level on points with second placed Copenhagen and know that a win coupled with a Copenhagen loss will put them in firm control of their destiny.

Group winners Bayern Munich will take on FC Copenhagen at the Allianz Arena. The German champions have a perfect record in the group, winning four out of four to sit on 12 points, 8 more than their second placed opponents. 

The Bavarians have nothing to play for, but victory will still be on the agenda for a club of Bayern’s stature. Copenhagen are winless in their last two League games and are on the back of a shock 2-1 defeat to Viborg in the League. 

Bayern have won their last six home games, and there is nothing to suggest that will change tonight.

Arsenal will secure progression to the round of 16 if they pick up at least a point against Lens at the Emirates. 

The Gunners are top of Group B with nine points, four points clear of second placed PSV, who are also tied on points with Lens. 

Arsenal were beaten 2-1 by Lens in France and have failed to beat them in three straight Champions League appearances, but will fancy their chances of victory in front of their own fans. Lens’ 1-0 loss to PSV on matchday four is their only defeat they have suffered in the last 12 games, and have won their last two scoring four goals and conceding none. 

Defensive efficiency has been key for them, but it will be a tough one against Mikel Arteta’s in form side.

Bottom of the group and three points behind their opponents, Sevilla will host PSV Eindhoven at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. 

The Spanish side have picked up just two points from their four matches and come into this on the back of a 2-1 loss to Real Sociedad, meaning they have won just one of their last 11 games. 

PSV have continued to impress in the Eredivisie and will fancy their chances at an upset, but they have failed to win any of their last 15 away games in the Champions League, the longest streak of any team in the competition currently. This will be a good time to change that.

Real Madrid will take on Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu needing just a point to win Group C. Madrid have picked up four wins from four and are five points clear of their second placed opponents.

Despite injury concerns, they are on a fine run of form, having not lost at home since early April as well as winning eight of their last nine Champions League home games. 

They have also won their last nine games against Serie A sides, including a 3-2 win over Napoli on matchday two.

Napoli will join real in the last 16 if they can secure a shock win, and have also won seven of nine matches away from home this season. With Victor Osimhen also back from injury, they are up for the fight, though the might of Madrid should prevail.

Braga will be hoping things go their way when Union Berlin visit the Estadio Municipal de Braga. The Portuguese side are third in Group C with three points, four behind Napoli. 

But victory here coupled with a Napoli loss to Real Madrid means it will be a winner takes all battle with the Italians on matchday six. They have been prolific in front of goal, netting in 21 out of 22 games this season as well as scoring 30 goals in the Portuguese League, seven more than any other side.

Opponents Union are yet to register a win since August, and were beaten 3-2 by Braga in their first meeting despite going two goals up. They are bottom of the group and have also been goal shy, failing to score in 10 games this season. It’s not looking good for the German side, and Braga are expected to be victorious.

In form Inter Milan will travel to the Estadio Da Luz to take on Benfica in Group D. Last season’s finalists have picked up 10 points from four games to lie second, level on points with Real Sociedad who boast a better goal difference. 

They were 2-0 winners on this ground last season in the Champions League knockout stages and with top spot up for grabs, they are heavy favourites to win here. Benfica have been dominant in the Portuguese League, sitting top of the table, but it has been a completely different story in the Champions League where they have lost all four games played. Qualification is well beyond their reach and they can only hope it doesn’t get worse against Simeone Inzaghi’s men.

Real Sociedad will entertain RB Salzburg at the Anoeta Stadium. Real sit top of Group D, level on points with Inter Milan and will take a significant step towards winning the group should they emerge victorious here, with matchday six setting up a showdown between Real and Inter Milan. 

They have lost just one game at the Anoeta this season, against Barcelona, and have won five of the last six games at their stadium. Compare that with Salzburg who, after beating Benfica on matchday one, lost their following three games. 

Third spot and the Europa League is up for grabs, which they can secure with two draws, but beating the Spanish side on the road will be a monumental task.

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