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Champions League: Manchester sides looking to emulate Arsenal and Chelsea's success in the hunt for qualification


Manchester United and Manchester City could both seal qualification to the last 16 of the Champions League this evening.

Both Chelsea and Arsenal won last night but have yet to guarantee their place in the knock out stages.

Chelsea will go into their last game against Porto level on points with the Portuguese outfit after thrashing Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-0 last night.

Arsenal were also on form to beat Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 at the Emirates, a win which means they can still qualify if they beat Olympiakos by two clear goals or more in a fortnight's time.

For the Manchester clubs, there is an opportunity to qualify with a game to spare, and potentially allow a few players a rest for their final group game heading into the busy Christmas period.

United host Dutch side Ajax at Old Trafford, and will be weary having lost the reverse tie 2-1 earlier in the campaign. That game was also notable for the horrific injury suffered by United full back Luke Shaw, who has been ruled out for the season.

If United were to win tonight however, they could seal top spot if Wolfsburg lost to CSKA Moscow in the group's other fixture. Should the German side get a result tonight however, providing they don't lose themselves, United can still seal the deal with a win in Germany in the final round of 

Like United, their rivals City face a team tonight who they were defeated by earlier in the season in Italian champions Juventus.

Manuel Pellegrini's men lost 2-1 at the Eithad to last season's beaten finalists, but have since won three straight games in Europe to top the group.

Their double win over Sevilla could prove crucial as they are now six points clear of the Spanish side, so a point from their next two games will see them through to the last sixteen.

Tonight's game in Italy does give City the chance to win the group outright if they can win, but their task will not be helped by a number of injuries, with captain Vincent Kompany and David Silva's absences the most significant. 

However, even with the likes of Mangala, Nasri, Zabaleta and Bony also out through injury, City will still be able to call upon the forward line of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne and perhaps most importantly Sergio Aguero to fire them into the knock out phase.

City have never been past the last sixteen in the Champions League before, and even if they do win the group, the likes of PSG and Atletico Madrid could lie in wait, but a win in Turin this evening would still be a huge boost for this City side.

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