Champions League Predictions 2013-14: Full Picks and Top Stars for Matchday 2
Matchday 2 of the Champions League has all of the stars, excellent matches and storylines you could possible want. And if it's anything like Matchday 1, we're all in for quite the treat.
Two of the hottest teams in Europe meet in one intriguing matchup. Two of the most stacked rosters face in another. Portuguese powerhouses, Porto and Benfica, play tough opposition in Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, respectively.
It's going to be a lot of fun. Let's predict each game and go over a few stars to keep an eye on.
Schedule and Predictions
Arsenal vs. Napoli
Two of the hottest teams in Europe will square off in a key Group F contest when Napoli travel to North London to face Arsenal.
The Gunners have won nine straight games in all competitions and are currently atop the Premier League table with 15 points after six games. Meanwhile, Napoli remain unbeaten in their first seven games (six wins, one draw) and are currently second on Serie A's table with 16 points after six games.
New additions have been key for both squads, with Mesut Ozil sparking Arsenal's attack while Gonzalo Higuain has already chipped in four goals for Napoli.
Arsenal are really beat up—Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain won't suit up—but it hasn't slowed them down yet this year. Add in the fact that they play at home, and it's hard to see the Gunners losing this one.
But Napoli are playing wonderful football under Rafa Benitez, and have proved they can travel without issue, defeating Borussia Dortmund, 2-1, on Matchday 1. Expect a spirited, competitive game that ends in a 1-1 draw.
Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich
Even hosting this game, you get the feeling Manchester City will be overpowered against the mighty Bavarians.
City have now lost to Aston Villa and Cardiff City in the Premier League, while drawing with Stoke City. For all of this team's talent—remember, they crushed Manchester United already this season, 4-1—inconsistency remains a huge concern.
Consistency has not been a problem for Bayern Munich. The Bavarians have won 10 of their 12 games this season, drawing with SC Freiburg and losing to Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Supercup. Even on the road, Bayern Munich have to be favored against a City side that are still working out their identity under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Bayern Munich win, 2-1.
Stars to Watch
Mesut Ozil, Arsenal
The aforementioned Ozil has been brilliant since joining Arsenal, with a 7.97 match rating in three Premier League games, per WhoScored.com, and three assists in three Premier League games. Arguably Europe's best No. 10, Ozil will give Napoli all they can handle and then some.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, Real Madrid
Ronaldo might just earn himself another hat trick against FC Copenhagen, much as he did against Galatasaray. Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Bale every time he takes the pitch this season. A strong showing against Copenhagen would go a long way for his confidence at his new club, and given his quality, it wouldn't be surprising to see him rival Ronaldo for Man of the Match.
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United
Rooney has been fabulous this year, the lone bright spot in a tumultuous season for United, with five goals and four assists in seven appearances. Look for him to keep the good times rolling against Shakhtar Donetsk.
With Lionel Messi out for Barcelona's match against Celtic, it's time for Neymar to step up. He's certainly made the adjustment to European football look easy, with two goals and five assists in nine appearances. Celtic won't have an answer for the electrifying Brazilian.
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