Everton, Fulham look to consolidate
PARIS:Celtic manager Tony Mowbray is under pressure to end a sorry run of home results that have left the Glasgow giants in a virtually must-win situation against Europa League rivals Hamburg on Thursday.
Fulham and Everton will also be in action, against
Roma and Benfica, respectively but with the English
Premier League sides sitting pretty atop their groups
the pressure is all on Celtic.
After two of their six games
the Scots are bottom of
Group C with a point, and a three-point deficit to Rapid Vienna who held them 1-1 in Glasgow last time out.
Counting the scoreless draw with league opponents
Motherwell last weekend,
the Hoops now just have
two wins from seven home games in all competitions
so far this season. All talk
of a crisis has been stifled by Mowbray, and he remains defiant that his team have not been playing below par.
Everton are among five of the 12 group leaders that have won their first two group fixtures. But the perfect record of David Moyes’ side could be tested by the fact they have never played Benfica, and are likely to still be without forward Steve Pienaar due to a knee injury. After missing games against BATE Borisov, Stoke City and Wolves, he believes playing at Benfica’s Lison ground, the Stadium of Light, could ruin his chances of a full recovery.
After a win and a draw
Fulham top Group E on
four points and welcome Roma to Craven Cottage in the hope their coach, Claudio Ranieri, remembers little of the team from his spell as coach of Chelsea. Going on statistics, Fulham have a good chance of coming out on top on what is the clubs’ first meeting. Fulham have yet to lose a home match after 10 UEFA club competition fixtures, and Roma’s three trips to London in UEFA club competition have ended in two defeats and a 1-1 draw.
Senegalese striker Diomansy Kamara knows all about Roma having scored against them when he played for Modena in Italy. And having scored one of the two goals in the 2-0 defeat of Hull City on Monday, Kamara hopes his partnership with Bobby Zamora pays dividends again.
Valencia, winners of the competition in 2004, sit joint top of Group B with Lille ahead of hosting Slavia Prague. Defending champions Shakhtar Donetsk, winners of the final UEFA Cup in 2009, top Group J with six points and will be looking to continue the pattern when they host second-placed Toulouse. Toulouse may not be among the
French league giants but
boast the killer striking talents of French international Andre-Pierre Gignac.