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Tuesday, May 03rd

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Gervinho targets Champions League success for Arsenal

Ivory Coast winger Gervinho believes his side Arsenal can emulate fellow Londoners Chelsea and win the Champions League this season. The former Lille player doesn’t seem to think of any side as a firm favorite in Europe this year and is not overawed by Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Gervinho was quoted in an interview with the People saying, “I don't think Barcelona and Real Madrid have been at their best this season. Chelsea are not through yet and Manchester United have had to work hard to win their games too. There is no big favourite"

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Champions League to have 64 teams from 2015?

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In what could be a huge and interesting change to its format, the UEFA Champions League could soon have 64 teams participating in the main stages of the competition, if president Michel Platini has his way.

The new rules would see the Europa League being scrapped, and the changes would allow seven English and five Scottish teams to enter a preliminary qualifying stage, and could come into effect as early as 2015. The news would be a massive fillip for English sides continuously battling for that fourth and final Champions League spot, and the massive financial reward that comes with it. This would make the Premier League more attractive, and allow teams that are currently playing in the Europa League an opportunity to attract and retain better talent because of the opportunity to compete at the highest level.

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Chelsea's Champions League hopes dealt a blow as Shakhtar lose key player for final group game

Chelsea's hopes of making it through to the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League have been dealt a massive indirect blow as Group E leaders Shakhtar Donetsk have lost their key striker Luis Adriano through suspension for their final group stage clash against Italian Serie A champions Juventus.

Champions Chelsea must get 3 points in their corresponding group stage game against newbies Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge and hope for a Shakhtar victory against the Juventus next week to qualify for the knockout rounds.

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UEFA Europa League Wrap: Newcastle advance to knock-out round, Liverpool and Tottenham made to wait for final day

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Following two charged up nights of Champions League action, the focus was back on the Europa League as three English sides sought progression into the next round. A first goal in Liverpool colours in 19 months for Joe Cole seemed to have earned Liverpool victory over Young Boys, but the Swiss side came from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw leaving Liverpool to slug it out on the last matchday to qualify.

A Hugo Lloris-inspired Tottenham could only play out a goalless draw at Lazio amidst controversy and Spurs now need only a draw in their final game at home against Panathinaikos to qualify. Meanwhile, Sylvain Marveaux put Newcastle ahead against Maritimo at the Sports Direct Arena, only for the Portuguese side to snatch an equalizer 15 minutes from time. The draw though was enough for the English side to qualify for the next stage of the competition with a game in hand.

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UCL: Arsenal 2-0 Montpellier: Player Ratings

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Arsenal cruised to a 2-0 victory over Montpellier at the Emirates, confirming the Gunners' place in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Although Olivier Giroud failed to find the net against his former club, he was the star of Arsenal's victory as he assisted on both goals the Gunners scored with Jack Wilshere and Lukas Podolski getting on the scoresheet.

After a dull first half where both sides struggled to make an impression, Arsenal stepped up their game in the second half with Wilshere scoring the opener on 49 minutes with a chip over Jourdren, after Giroud did well to nod down Vermaelen's cross from the left wing. Podolski bagged a second for Arsenal at 73 minutes after a wonderfully executed one-two with Giroud that left the German free to slam in a volley from 12 yards.

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Real Madrid advance to the second round of the UEFA Champions League after draw in Manchester, City sent packing

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karim_benzemaManchester City needed to win at home against Real Madrid and hope other results went their way to keep their aspiration of sneaking into the last 16 of the Champions League [alive, whereas Real were looking to avoid defeat to go through. It was not to be for City though as 10-man Real Madrid hung on for a share of the spoils, while Borussia Dortmund thumped Ajax 4-1 in Amsterdam to send the English Champions stumbling out of the competition at the group stage for the second year running.

Manchester City were clearly the better side on the night but Real Madrid created the better chances and despite playing the last 20 minutes with 10 men, they hung on for a deserved 1-1 draw to ensure progression to the knockout stages. City will look at the match as a missed opportunity and had they played from the start like they did in the 2nd half, they could have gotten a different result.

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Arsenal romp to 2-0 victory over Montpellier to seal berth in last 16 of Champions League

arsene_wengerArsenal eased past a poor Montpellier side at the Emirates to record a comfortable 2-0 victory that saw them register their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League. The game was rather even for most periods although Arsenal converted the few chances they got as Wilshere and Podolski found the back of the net for the Gunners on the night.

The game was a little drab in the first half but Arsenal came to life in the second, scoring the opener on 49 minutes. Wilshere scored his first goal after returning from injury, chipping the ball over Jourdren from Giroud's well-executed nod down to Vermaelen's cross. Podolski scored the second for Arsenal on 73 minutes after a neat interplay of passes with Giroud that culminated in the German slamming a volley past Jourdren.

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