Celtic need two wins from their two remaining Champions League games to reach the knockout stages, but it could not have come much tougher than a visit from Spanish giants Barcelona.
Brendan Rodgers will be hoping for a much better performance from his side’s last meeting with Barcelona as Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick in a 7-0 victory for the Catalans on match day one.
Messi – who missed Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Malaga – has recovered from illness to travel to Celtic Park as Celtic look to put in a performance similar to their home 3-3 draw with Man City if they are to stand any chance against Luis Enrique’s side.
Celtic pulled off an amazing 2-1 triumph over Barcelona here in 2012 but this Barcelona team is even stronger now than four years ago. Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez are a force to be reckoned with and Barcelona should cruise to victory in Glasgow.
Victory will assure Barcelona Champions League football after Christmas and will be joined in the knockout stages by Man City, if Pep Guardiola’s side grab all three points away from Borussia Monchengladbach.
It looked all doom and gloom for Man City after a 4-0 thrashing at Barcelona on match day three but the Spanish manager pulled of a famous 3-1 win for Man City against his former club with three weeks ago.
Andre Schubert’s side are not out of the running yet where a second win of the campaign for the German side would see them move level on points with Man City to bring it down to a tense final match day in two weeks.
Borussia Monchengladbach are well capable of beating this Man City side but I think Man City will edge out the Bundesliga outfit and join group C rivals Barcelona in the last 16.
Arsenal have already assured their place in the knockout stages but they face an important fixture tonight as French champions Paris St. Germain make the trip to the Emirates Stadium in the battle for top spot in group A.
The Gunners assured their progress with two games to spare after collecting ten points from 12 but Arsene Wenger’s side did need to come from 2-0 down to save their blushes in a late 3-2 at Ludogorets Razgrad last time out.
Unai Emery’s side sit just behind the Gunners on goal difference as the French champions hope their opening 1-1 draw with Arsenal does not cost them top spot to avoid a potential European heavyweight in the next round.
Arsenal were fortunate to grab a point from Man United at the weekend after a lacklustre performance and will need to but in a much better display tonight to avoid being leapfrogged by PSG. Arsenal will just hold on to top spot tonight after another draw with the Ligue 1 outfit.
The other group A game sees Swiss side Basel make the trip to Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad as both sides look for a first win of the campaign and put themselves in third place for Europa League qualification.
Georgi Dermendzhiev’s side did give Arsenal a scare three weeks ago and they showed enough about them in that late defeat that they should pick up all three points against an unimpressive Basel.
Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid cruised from group D into the knockout stages and both sides will be expected to pick up another three points tonight before a head-to-head clash on the final match day for top spot.
Bayern Munich made the trip to FC Rostov with Carlo Ancelotti’s side expected to thrash the Russian side, while Diego Simone’s side entertain PSV Eindhoven at the Vicente Calderon as they aim to bounce back from a heavy 3-0 defeat to rivals Real Madrid last Saturday.
It is all still to play for in group B where Benfica make the trip to Besiktas where a victory for Rui Vitoria’s side will see them book their spot in the last 16.
However, Beskitas pick up an impressive 3-2 victory at Napoli on match day three and another performance like that should be enough to win and keep themselves in the running. However, I think this will end like their previous two Champions League home games with a point each.
The other group B game sees Serie A side welcome winless Dynamo Kiev to Stadio San Paolo and they should bag the win over the Ukrainians and will book their spot in the knockout stages providing Benfica win in Turkey.
Arsenal v PSG (1945)
Ludogorets v Basel (1945)
Besiktas v Benfica (1745)
Napoli v Dynamo Kiev (1945)
Borussia Monchengladbach v Man City (1945)
Celtic v Barcelona (1945)
Atletico Madrid v PSV Eindhoven (1945)
Rostov v Bayern Munich (1700)