Champions League: how Arsenal must improve against Bayern, but how good are Manchester City?

Bayer Leverkusen v Arsenal (Wednesday, 7.45pm ET)

Having qualified for the last 16 with a comfortable 3-0 win at Group A-stage opponent Basel, Arsenal face the possibility of knowing their destiny in the competition. The Gunners went into this season’s competition as outsiders. But after four consecutive wins, they could finish top of the group if they take advantage of Bayern’s loss against CSKA Moscow to secure a 5-1 win over the group winners. That would give them nine points but the Gunners are not entirely discounting Bayern: despite conceding eight goals in their opening two games against the Bundesliga leaders, they have still scored seven goals. Arsenal, one of the biggest spenders in the world this summer, also showed the pragmatism expected of such a large team by retaining Alexis Sánchez, Mesut Özil and Petr Cech.

Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk (Wednesday, 7.45pm ET)

The five-times European champions followed up their defeat at Basel with a 1-0 win at Manchester United, courtesy of a winner from Raheem Sterling. City look likely to qualify from Group F but will have to take care of business against the side they lost to when the pair met in the Europa League final in 2015. A 1-0 win at Celtic saw Shakhtar win their group but the Ukrainian club, under the guidance of Henning Berg, have had a little up and down season. The reigning champions of Ukraine are currently seventh in the league and are in a similar position to the London club. With Shakhtar unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions this season, the Belarusians would appear to be on an upward spiral. But they have scored just one goal in their last two games and they also look vulnerable defensively. Shakhtar would also be wary of playing City in the first leg with Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus likely to be involved.

Manchester United v Sevilla (Thursday, 7.45pm ET)

Manchester United’s success in Europe is built on the home form of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has revitalised the club since taking over as caretaker manager following José Mourinho’s sacking. United have won their opening four group games, the best start to the tournament for the club since 1999-2000. Having won their group with two games to spare, United will qualify top of Group A, should they win or draw in Spain. However, they face a difficult task in this match, even though Sevilla have problems of their own. In a bid to keep fans happy following the 4-0 defeat to Barcelona at the weekend, Seville have sold promotional seats and shut out their fans from singing and jeering the opposition. And if it were not for Marcus Rashford’s hat-trick in the 4-0 victory over CSKA Moscow, they could have been left in a worse position. United will face a tough challenge in stoppage time when they host Sevilla but they are determined to turn up for the Champions League.

Dortmund v Barcelona (Thursday, 7.45pm ET)

The Bundesliga leaders, Dortmund, are undefeated and unbeaten in seven matches under Michael Zorc and their only defeat this season was a 5-2 hammering at champions Bayern Munich. But if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores against Barcelona in the first leg of their last-16 match at the Signal Iduna Park, the Gabon striker will have seven goals from as many games at the Bundesliga’s stadiums this season. A win for the Spanish champions would set up a spectacular clash at the Nou Camp in the second leg. Barcelona are expected to start the favourite but could be worried that Lucien Favre’s side have lost only once at home and drew the only other game they played in the Spanish capital.

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