England Watch: Keeping Tabs On Italy's Champions League Opposition

Every matchday from now until the resumption of the Champions League, Goal.com will take a look at how the English teams are progressing ahead of their big last 16 ties against the Italians...
The countdown has started! There is just over a month to go before English and Italian sides will square off in the Champions League.

Arsenal will take on Roma, reigning European and world champions Manchester United will face Inter and Chelsea will clash with Juventus. Which sides will prevail and go through? Will one nation overpower the other? We will lead you to the event by monitoring the health status of the contenders after every official game.

Here we go…


West Bromwich Albion 0-5 Manchester United: An attacking masterclass against ten-man West Brom kept United's title challenge on the right path. Ryan Giggs was the creative engine of the side, but the goals came from Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez, Nemanja Vidic, and Cristiano Ronaldo (two). The Red Devils kept it tight at the back and effective up front: just what the doctor ordered.

Chelsea 2-0 Middlesbrough: This wasn't the most convincing of wins, but Chelsea at least managed to keep a clean sheet and not worry themselves while defending set pieces. A brace from Salomon Kalou gave the Blues three vital points, and Luiz Felipe Scolari will be happy with a job effectively, if not brilliantly, done.

Everton 1-1 Arsenal: Arsenal dropped yet more points away from home, leading some to wonder whether or not they're even going to finish in the Top Four this season. Nevertheless Everton are tough opponents, and Tim Cahill's second-half goal seemed to have given the Toffees the victory. However, Robin Van Persie popped up right at the end to equalise. This keeps Arsenal five points ahead of Everton but does their title challenge no good whatsoever; nonetheless coach Arsene Wenger is pleased with his side's "character."


Manchester United: Ryan Giggs helped to set up no fewer than four of his side's five goals, suggesting that there's life in this old Welshman yet. Such was the performance that nobody could be called a flop. Edwin Van der Sar was lowest rated by our team but that was because he barely had to touch the ball - that's eleven Prem clean sheets in a row for the veteran.

Chelsea: Salomon Kalou did more than simply score twice - he was really the attacking engine for his side. But Florent Malouda was most disappointing; not only did he last just 45 minutes, but he did very little during that time. Are transfer rumours preying on his mind?

Arsenal: Robin Van Persie's late goal did a world of good for the Gunners and thus he must be called their man of the match, but Johan Djourou also had a fairly good game at the back. Emmanuel Adebayor was, as befits his recent form, less than effective.


Manchester United: The injury situation remains worrying at Old Trafford. Rafael and Welbeck remain out, and Wes Brown (ankle), Patrice Evra (foot), Wayne Rooney (hamstring), Park Ji Sung (hamstring), Anderson (knee), Jonny Evans (ankle) and Owen Hargreaves (knee) aren't yet ready to play. One positive for the Red Devils, though, was that Rio Ferdinand returned against the Baggies and appeared to be fighting fit.

Ricardo Carvalho missed out again, while Jon Obi Mikel made his comeback. Deco managed to make it onto the bench, while John Terry also returned from injury. In short, the only concerns beyond Carvalho are long-term absentees Michael Essien and Joe Cole, the latter of whom will not kick a ball again this season.

Arsenal: Eduardo da Silva's return to training came a bit too soon for him to take part here, but William Gallas is back from his injury and he managed to play against Everton. Long-term injuries blight the side: Tomas Rosicky, Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott are all still some way from a return. Mikael Silvestre, though, is likely to make a comeback shortly.


Manchester United, Alex Ferguson: "The scoreline was important. We showed a ruthless streak about us, possibly for the first time this season. It has been a long time coming and we needed it because I think goal difference could play a part. It is a satisfying result in that respect."

Chelsea, Wilkins [assistant manager]: "We haven't scored too many from set plays this season so it's nice to see a couple. They were very well taken as well from Salomon, a great volley, great technique and a good header at the back post."

Arsenal, Wenger: "When you are 1-0 down with a minute to go and you get a point you are relieved. It was a game where two teams gave everything and we showed quality and character. We showed fighting spirit, passion and intensity and Robin van Persie scored an exceptional goal. We can pass the ball better but you have to give a lot of credit to Everton. They play in an intelligent way and play a kind of game that made a passing game very difficult. It is a game we wanted to win but it was one we couldn't afford to lose so maybe it is not too bad."

Ewan Macdonald, Goal.com