December 7, 2010: UEFA Champions League returns on Matchday 6 tonight with some crucial and some not so crucial encounters! Below is pre-match analysis of the various fixtures to be held on Tuesday, December 7, 2010.
Manchester United vs Valencia
Time: 2045 hrs GMT
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Referee: Pedro Proenca (Por)
Manchester United host Valencia at Old Trafford, where both the sides will battle it out for the top spot in Group C. Both sides have been guaranteed places into the next knock out round of the UEFA Champions League, but with the coveted top spot up for grabs, we can expect a firecracker of a match at Old Trafford tonight. United’s weekend Premier League match against Blackpool was postponed due to snowy conditions, hence they will be fielding a refreshed first eleven. Valencia, on the other hand, were defeated by Real Madrid 2-0 over the weekend. However, with their goal scoring form in the Champions League, in which they have scored 14 goals in the previous games, they cannot be expected to only defend.
For the home team, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov will be expected to be on top of their games, as has been seen in their recent games. For the visitors, striker Roberto Soldado and midfielder Juan Mata can cause trouble for the United defence.
Barcelona vs Rubin Kazan
Time: 2045 GMT
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Swe)
Barcelona have been in red hot form in the domestic La Liga, where they have scored 16 goals in their previous three matches. They are already assured of the top spot in Group D, so they can be expected to rest some players for this match. Barca have played thrice before in the Champions League against the Russian champions Rubin but have failed to win on even a single occasion. Last year in the same fixture, Rubin sent shock waves across Spain when they defeated the Champions 2-1 at Camp Nou. They will be hoping to perform a miracle of the same sort this time around. In the reverse fixture this season also, Barca were held to a 0-0 draw in Russia. However, at best Rubin can hope for a Europa League spot as a victory for FC Copenhagen against Panathinaikos will guarantee them the second spot in the Group and a place in the knock out rounds of the Champions League.
Obefami Martins and Salvatore Bocchetti are in good form for the Russians, while the home side will look for heroics from Lionel Messi and midfielders like Xavi, Iniesta and others.