By Walter Broeckx
What might happen in the Group of death.
Standing now after 4 matches:
Let us first look at the Arsenal win scenarios:
Arsenal win + Napoli wins
Arsenal and Napoli are qualified but have to decide in the last game who will win the group.
Arsenal win and Dortmund win then the table would be
In that case Arsenal is still not 100% sure of qualification for the knockout round as crazy as that may sound. Because Dortmund and Napoli could also come to 12 points if they win their final match. And then the results of the 3 clubs amongst each other will be looked at to decide who will go to the knockout round and who will go to join Tottenham on Thursdays…
If Arsenal win and Napoli and Dortmund draw we get the following table:
Arsenal is then sure of qualification but not sure of the first place in the group.
Next is the Arsenal draw scenario
If we draw and Napoli win then we get this league table:
Napoli and Arsenal qualify but have to decide who wins the group at the last day in Napoli.
If we draw and Napoli and Dortmund also we get this league table
Dortmund could still get level on points with Arsenal or Napoli. In that case a draw between Arsenal and Napoli on the final day would see them both qualified for the next round.
If we draw and Dormund wins against Napoli we get this table:
A draw in Napoli would see us to the knock out stages but maybe not as top of the group
Worst case scenarios now
Arsenal lose and Napoli wins (updated!)
We then have to win at Napoli to be 100% sure to qualify.
Arsenal lose and Napoli and Dortmund draw
Again we will have to win in Napoli to be 100% sure to qualify and be top of the group
Arsenal lose and Dortmund wins
Again we then have to win and then we still are not sure of being top of the group, depending on goal difference.
So when we look at just being sure to be in the next round we have to win and hope that Dortmund does not win. In fact each result and Dortmund losing will give us a ticket for the knockout stages. But in some cases we will have to win in Napoli to win the group.
So it is a bit of a tricky choice. Napoli winning will mean that we are as good as qualified if we take a point but it also means that we could end up in second place if we don’t win in Naples.
If we want to have peace in mind we should hope that Dortmund loses and we get at least one point. And then it is a battle between the two teams on top to see who finishes first and who second. And that could make a big difference to get an opponent.
If we take the current league tables and imagine that they will be like that at the end we know that we cannot play an English team in the first knock out round. And the other teams on top are:
Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona. These are the possible teams to face if we don’t finish first in our group.
If we win our group the possible teams we could face are:
Olympiacos, Galatasary (unless Juventus beats them – only one point behind), Schalke 04 (or Basel), Zenit (or Porto), AC Milan (or Ajax?).
So with all respect the possible teams we would face if we don’t win our group are much stronger than the teams we could face if we win our group. And Schalke04 or hell Ajax give it your best shot and take that second place would be fantastic.
But imagine the possible scenario both Arsenal, Dortmund and Napoli finishing with 12 points in our group. How will it be decided then?
Here are the rules from Uefa:
Rule 7.06 If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following criteria are
applied to determine the rankings (in descending order):
a) higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question;
b) superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question;
c) higher number of goals scored in the group matches played among the teams in question;
d) higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question;
e) if, after having applied criteria a) to d), two teams still have an equal ranking, criteria a) to d) are reapplied to determine the final ranking of the two teams.
If this procedure does not lead to a decision, criteria f) to h) apply;
f) superior goal difference from all group matches played;
g) higher number of goals scored from all group matches played;
h) higher number of coefficient points accumulated by the club in question, as well as its association, over
the previous five seasons (see paragraph 9.02)
So the best thing to do and to make sure is to win the last two games in the group.
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