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Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Good news for Arsenal, Real Madrid


After looking at the first four groups yesterday, we now examine today's groups to check out each team's odds of reaching the Round of 16. The percent-to-advance column is calculated using 10,000 simulations of ESPN's Soccer Power Index, which predicts future results based on each club's results over the previous four seasons.

Group E

This was the only group in which all four teams have at least a 10 percent chance of advancing, as well as the only group that did not have two teams with at least a 68 percent chance of advancing. Bayern Munich nearly has the group sewn up and can advance today with a win and some help. Although the other three teams are tied with three points, Roma is a significant favorite because it has the best offensive and defensive numbers of the trio. Basel plays both Roma and Cluj at home, but the Swiss side has the lowest rating of the three and also has only a 3 percent chance of winning at Bayern Munich.


Group F

Chelsea is considered a lock to advance and can clinch a berth in its eight straight knockout round with a win at home against Spartak Moscow today. Marseille has a higher SPI rating than Spartak, but a three-point deficit and head-to-head meeting in Moscow both favor the Russian club. Spartak is projected to defeat Marseille 40 percent of the time and tie another 29 percent.


Group G

Real Madrid will reach its 14th straight knockout round with a win today, but the Spanish side is 0-5-1 in six matches at the San Siro. AC Milan is also massively favored over Ajax for two reasons: a significantly higher SPI rating and a home match against the Dutch side. Milan is expected to defeat Ajax 66 percent of the time at home, with Ajax projected to win a mere 12 percent of their meetings in Milan.


Group H

This group is essentially over according to SPI. Arsenal could move on today with a win over Shakhtar Dontesk, or a tie and a Partizan win. The Ukrainian club looks to get through because of a much stronger rating than either Braga or Partizan, as well as hosting Braga on the final match day.