Champions League & Football League as it happened

Live text commentary as Man City are held by Ajax, Schalke fight back to hold Arsenal in the Champions League, plus Football League action.

6 November 2012 Last updated at 22:20 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 2220: 

    That is it for tonight's football action. You can read all the reports and reaction on the website. And you can join Tom Rostance tomorrow for Wednesday's football, which includes Chelsea v Shakhtar Donetsk and Braga v Manchester United. I'll see thee.

  2. 2220: 

    Arsene Wenger on Theo Walcott: "Football performances are in every single game. Theo does extremely well today; he was one of our best players. But he has been injured for a long time, injured with England, and comes back now. We know he is a great player.

    "We lost on Saturday - at least we didn't lose the game today."

  3. 2217: 
    BBC Sport's David Ornstein reports:Schalke 2-2 Arsenal

    "An Arsenal defence of yesteryear might not have let slip a two-goal lead, but drawing at Schalke is not a bad result and the Gunners will be confident of advancing to the knockout stage."

  4. 2217: 

    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "I believe it was a difficult game, a good one as well from both sides, both played very well. I generally feel after all the stick we got after Saturday it was important we showed a great response, which we did. We played a great team. Unfortunately we conceded a goal just before half-time, and there was the in the last minute the Walcott chance for 3-2. But overall the result was fair.

    "At 2-0 the game is not won in the Champions League, especially with the physical quality of German teams now. What is important is to win our next game against Montpellier and see what happens here [between Schalke and Olympiakos]. It can go to last game or cannot go to last game."

  5. 2214:  
    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Etihad Stadium:Man City 2-2 Ajax

    "Manchester City fight back to earn a point - but that dreadful start cost them and in reality their hopes of reaching the last 16 are slim at best. A big finish was not enough."

  6. 2212: 

    Roberto Mancini on Manchester City's hopes of reaching the last 16 of the Champions League: "For now we are finished. We have two more difficult games left, which we have to try and win."

    Do City want to be in the Europa League? "If we can, yes."


    Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand on Twitter: "Good night of football, watched it with the lads and the coaching staff. Surprising but good point for Ajax."

  8. 2209: 

    Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, who marched on to the pitch to remonstrate with Danish referee Peter Rasmussen and his assistants at the final whistle after having appeals for a last-gasp penalty turned down: "The ref and the linesman were really poor. It was a penalty and [before then] it was a goal, not offside. What did he say back to me? Nothing."


    Infostrada tweets: "Real Madrid fail to win two consecutive Champions League matches for the first time since April-May 2011."

  10. 2207: 

    The game of the night can be found in the Championship. After 20 minutes league leaders Cardiff were two goals up and cruising. After 90 minutes Charlton, in dire form before kick-off, grabbed a breathless 5-4 win. Bluebirds manager Malky Mackay was left speechless and fuming on the touchline, but happier times for new Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway. His side blew away Ipswich 5-0 to really ram home their promotion potential. A division below, Preston grabbed a 90th minute equaliser at home to Carlisle to make it 1-1, while struggling Coventry overcame play-off contenders Crawley 3-1. In League Two, Southend and Dagenham & Redbridge saw off opponents Bristol Rovers and Oxford with 3-2 final scores, but big fixture Gillingham-Cheltenham ended disappointingly goalless.


    Booth on Twitter: "I know we were nowhere near the top of our game, but we've had a good goal chalked off and clear penalty not given..."

    Nick Langridge on Twitter: "City clutching a straws over these penalty claims. If they performed like they did last season Ajax would be easy pickings."

    Stephen Patrick Ryan on Twitter: "Has anyone seen The Plot that Bobby Mancini has clearly lost?"

  12. 2203: 

    Arsenal's Theo Walcott, speaking about the 2-2 draw at Schalke: "It was a good point in the end. It would have been a fantastic victory but Schalke are a tough side. We are just trying to win our last couple of games and that is all you can do. As long as you do that then you have a very good chance of going through."

    On being given a start: "I just want to play hopefully now I can get a run in the team because I feel I fully deserve it.

    On being asked if his contract situation is why he has been on the bench: "You have to ask the manager that question, I can't answer that."

  13. 2159: 

    You don't need telling this but the odds are really stacked against Manchester City now. Only two clubs have managed to qualify for the the next round of the Champions League having had two points after four matches: Lokomotiv Moscow in 2002/03 and FC Porto in 2004/05.

  14. 2157:  
    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer at Etihad

    "Man City have not impressed with any of their Champions league games. They were never convincing at all tonight, and it was all huff and puff from the hosts. From the off they just didn't convince me, and they have never got to grips with this competition. Maybe Mancini hasn't got to grips with it either."

  15. 2155: 

    Man City captain Vincent Kompany on the result and his side's poor start against Ajax: "It is very disappointing because I am sure we did enough to win the game. At corners, it is important to defend as a team and we probably let ourselves down, especially because they didn't have a lot of other chances."

    What were City lacking? "I don't know, we will try to see what went wrong. It's not a case of us not being good enough. I don't know about the penalty at the end but I am sure we should have had a penalty in the half as well (when Yaya Toure was fouled). It was very clear."

  16. 2151:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "The way City played in the last 25 minutes, really forcing the action and dictating the play, is the way they have to start games. That is the only way they are going to improve in this competition."

  17. 2150: 

    In Group B, Arsenal stay second with seven points, a point and a place behind Schalke. Olympiakos are third with six points, while Montpellier are bottom with just one point. So, if the Gunners win against Montpellier next time and the Greek side lose in Germany, Arsene Wenger's side are through.


    Opta tweets: "This is only the second time Arsenal have given up a two-goal lead in the Champions League - first was versus Bayern Munich in December 2000."

  19. 2146: 

    So, Manchester City remain bottom of Group D with two points from four games. Ajax have four points. Borussia Dortmund remain top of the pile with eight points, a solitary point ahead of Real Madrid. It means City have a sliver of a chance of reaching the next round, but Roberto Mancini's team need to win both their remaining games (against Dortmund and Madrid) and hope the Dutch outfit get at least a draw against the Spanish side.


    Matty Burns on Twitter: "The ref has well and truly bottled it. Incredible."

    Shane McMenemy on Twitter: "City should have had two penalties and one goal but ultimately the result was unfair on Ajax. Madness."

    William Gauld on Twitter: "How much longer can Mancini hang on? Another inept display."

  21. 2141: 

    There has been another goal in Group D - but it comes at the Bernabeu and not the Etihad Stadium. Real Madrid appear to have rescued a point against leaders Borussia Dortmund through Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil. It means, as things stand, City will be five points adrift of second-placed Madrid with two games left.

  22. 2141:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Balotelli's shirt was definitely pulled, and that adds insult to injury after Kolarov was onside. But in two games against Ajax, Man City won one point and conceded five goals. And the way Man City have played in all these games, there's no serious way the most myopic of City supporters could back them to get through."

  23. 2140: 

    Mancini has also been over to the touchline to complain to a cameraman, who he seems to be blaming for getting in the way of the assistant referee to prevent him seeing the penalty incident. We're going to be hearing more about this.

  24. 2139: 

    Roberto Mancini is on the pitch at the Etihad confronting referee Peter Rasmussen over the last-minute penalty claim. It is fair to say he is not a happy man. Having seen replays of the incident, it is clear that Mario Balotelli's shirt is being pulled.

  25. 2137: 
    FULL-TIME- Schalke 2-2 Arsenal
  26. 2137: 

    Arsenal have a chance to win the game right at the death. Theo Walcott muscles his way through and clear but Schalke keeper Lars Unnerstall comes out to block his shot.

  27. 2136:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "This has not been good enough from Manchester City tonight..."

  28. 2136: 
    FULL-TIME- Man City 2-2 Ajax
  29. 2136: 

    Manchester City's last chance as Joe Hart has a free-kick to deliver into the box from the halfway line. He chips the ball in and Mario Balotelli looks to be having his shirt pulled as he looks to turn. City scream for a penalty but referee Peter Rasmussen blows for full-time, to absolute fury from the home side.

  30. 2134: 

    Andre Santos and Francis Coquelin come on for Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere for Arsenal. At least Santos will get himself a Schalke shirt at full-time. There will be four minutes of added time in Germany.

  31. 2133: 

    Christian Eriksen almost breaks Manchester City hearts as he strikes from range but Joe Hart is well-placed to palm the ball over. The corner is headed clear and then hammered wide of goal by Viktor Fischer.

  32. 2131: 

    The 90 minutes are up at the Etihad and in Gelsenkirchen. There are going to be three extra minutes in the former. 180 seconds for Manchester City to find a winner.


    Jack Yates on Twitter: "He wasn't offside!"

    Ben Cullen on Twitter: "City don't deserve anything from this game. No shape the entire match."

    Rennie Etheridge on Twitter: "Any lead is dangerous when Arsenal are defending it..."

  34. 2129: 

    Manchester City have the ball in the net again as Sergio Aguero pokes the ball in from Aleksandar Kolarov's cross from the left. the flag is up, though. It must be from the short pass from Edin Dzeko that set up Kolarov's cross. But replays show the full-back was on.

  35. 2128: 

    Leandro Greco and Kostas Mitroglou restore Olympiakos's advantage against Montpellier in the other game in Arsenal's Group B. The Greek side lead 3-1 and, as things stand, will move within a point of the Gunners. AC Milan have found an equaliser against Malaga at the San Siro - Brazil striker Alexandre Pato heading in the first goal the Spaniards have conceded in the competition. But Malaga still look set to progress into the last 16 tonight as Zenit St Petersburg remain 1-0 down at Anderlecht.

  36. 2128: 

    Time for an Ajax change. Christian Poulsen departs with Viktor Fischer coming on.

  37. 2126: 

    Aleksandar Kolarov comes on for Gareth Barry in a last throw of the dice for Manchester City. He almost makes an immediate impact with a low ball to the near post that Edin Dzeko puts past the upright.

  38. 2126: 

    Arsenal are all over the shop at the back as Jefferson Farfan's cross finds Klaas-Jan Huntelaar unmarked in the box. His header drifts over the bar, but he was offside anyway. The Gunners are living dangerously though.

  39. 2125: 

    Both games featuring English sides in the Champions League are balanced on a knife-edge. Arsenal are hanging on, Manchester City are all out for the win. There are about six minutes or so to go in each. Late drama anyone?


    David in Reading on 81111 on text: "Loving all these comebacks over the past week. How many goals does a team have to score before a lead becomes safe?"

    Vic from London on 81111 on text: "Is it just me or does the Champions League look the most exciting it's been for years? So many teams are playing well and can win it this year, it's not as predictable as the last 5 years. Long may it continue!"

    Dom in Essex on 81111 on text: "Re Hitan Patel (2052): Huntelaar was signed by both Real Madrid and AC Milan, but didn't make the grade!"

  41. 2123: 

    Schalke are the ones on the hunt for a winner in Germany. Jermaine Jones cuts in from the right and fires low at goal but Vito Mannone is behind it all the way to drop down and save.

  42. 2120: 

    Manchester City come so close to seizing the lead. Samir Nasri floats a free-kick from the right to the back post where Mario Balotelli rises and plants a header on target but Kenneth Vermeer does superbly to dive to his left and palm away. 10 minutes remaining.

    Gary Lineker, Match of the Day presenter

    "Stunning finish from Aguero. If City can turn this around and Dortmund hang on to their lead, what a game Man City v Real Madrid will be..."

  44. 2118:  
    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Etihad Stadium:

    "Manchester City set up for the big finish now after Sergio Aguero's goal and The Etihad is alive at last."

  45. 2118: 

    Arsenal have a fine chance to regain the lead as the ball finds its way to Theo Walcott in the left channel and his shot comes back off the far post. Walcott, as it happens, is flagged offside - but that's more like it from the Gunners.

  46. 2118: 

    Better news for Arsenal sees nearest rivals Olympiakos surrender their lead against Group B's bottom team Montpellier. The French visitors level at 1-1 through Younes Belhanda, who slots a penalty past the Greek side's former Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll. Paris Saint-Germain, under the guidance of former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, score a quickfire double against winless Dinamo Zagreb to strengthen their grip on second place in Group A. Blaise Matuidi and Jeremy Menez net in the space of four minutes as PSG lead 3-0.

  47. 2117:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "That was a good old-fashioned English long ball, route one, and it was a clinical finish on the end of it. Now we've got a completely different game here..."

  48. 2117: 

    If today has proved anything, it is that 2-0 remains the most dangerous scoreline in football.


    Thomas Brookes on Twitter: "Arsenal back to their best? Back to usual more like!"

    Chris on Twitter: "Well, how can we (2105) proclaim the Premier League as the best league in the world when we can't compete in Europe?"

    George Corden on Twitter: "Maybe Man City have given up on qualifying for the knock out stage so are aiming for fourth to avoid the Europa League."

  50. 2114: 
    GOAL- Man City 2-2 Ajax - Sergio Aguero (74 mins)

    They have had to work so hard, but Manchester City are level and it is a superb Sergio Aguero finish that has done it for them. The Argentine needs only a glimpse of an opening - following a header on - which he seizes on to create space for a low shot into the bottom corner from an angle on the right. A draw will be enough to keep City in the competition, but realistically they need a win if they are not to just prolong the agony.

  51. 2114: 

    At the Etihad, Manchester City are still pushing for that all-important equaliser (remember, if they lose they are out) but Ajax are holding firm at the moment. Edin Dzeko looks to cut in to receive a forward pass but much to the home fans frustration is flagged offside.

  52. 2112: 

    A phenomenal comeback at The Valley, where strikes either side of half time from the hosts have Charlton 4-2 up over Championship leaders Cardiff. Goals too for Steve Bruce's Hull who lead Wolves 2-0, while Blackburn lead Huddersfield 2-1, including a goal from Terriers old boy Jordan Rhodes. In Leagues One and Two, Bournemouth, Stevenage and Dagenham & Redbridge lead against Shrewsbury, Yeovil and Oxford respectively.

  53. 2109: 
    GOAL- Schalke 2-2 Arsenal - Jefferson Farfan (67 mins)

    Arsenal can't hold out. To say that goal has been coming is a massive understatement. Ibrahim Afellay's cross from the left is nodded on by Lewis Holtby and finds Jefferson Farfan at the back post. He takes a touch and fires a shot that finds the goal despite Thomas Vermaelen's attempt to block on the line. It is going to be a long last 20 or so minutes for the Gunners.

  54. 2109: 

    Schalke's substitute is substituted as Marco Hoger is replaced by Kyriakos Papadopoulos. 25 minutes to go.

  55. 2107: 

    How long can Arsenal hold on against this Schalke assault? Ibrahim Afellay drives a shot from range, which Vito Mannone is rigth behind and saves.

  56. 2107: 

    Another change for Manchester City sees Edin Dzeko come on for Carlos Tevez.

  57. 2106: 

    Schalke are hammering at the Arsenal door. Lewis Holtby's well-hit shot is saved by the diving Vito Mannone and just evades Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on the rebound.


    Lewis in Leeds on 81111 on text: "I would really like for City to throw Dzeko on now, rather than with 10 minutes left. I fancy him above the rest of the City strikers to nod one of these cross in."

    Michael from Bradford on 81111 on text: "Why do people get so worried about the quality of the Premier League when sides like Ajax beat sides like City? It doesn't effect anyone who doesn't support the teams in the Champions League, and it doesn't effect the national team, as most of the best players playing for English clubs in Europe are foreign. All I want the Premier League to be is entertaining, and by that reckoning it's the best league in the world by far."

  59. 2105: 

    Elsewhere across Europe, it has been an extremely quiet start. No-one has yet managed to score after the break - meaning all the standings and permutations are unchanged from half-time.

  60. 2104:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "City started the second half very brightly and fashioned some half chances, but in recent moments Ajax have started to establish themselves on the ball once more."

    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer at Etihad Stadium

    "Aguero's failure to keep his feet is getting ridiculous. Is he wearing the right studs?"

  62. 2104: 

    More Schalke pressure and the ball reaches substitute Marco Hoger, whose shot at the near post is destined for the goal but deflected behind on the line by the tucked in arm of Mikel Arteta. From the resulting corner, Roman Neustadter heads wide.

  63. 2100: 

    Oh, that was a real chance for Sergio Aguero. He gets across to nip the ball away from advancing Ajax keeper Kenneth Vermeer. He is sent wide but has a chance either to shoot from a tight angle or deliver to team-mates arriving in the box with the keeper stranded but he slips at the vital moment and the visitors clear.

  64. 2100: 

    An hour gone in the games at the Etihad and the Stadion Gelsenkirchen. Manchester City trail 2-1. Arsenal lead by the same scoreline.


    Opta tweet: "Arsenal have never kept a clean sheet in Germany in the Champions League, now conceding on all eight trips there."

  66. 2058: 

    At the Etihad, Siem de Jong again fires from range for Ajax and his effort is superbly hit but Joe Hart pulls out a strong save to block.

  67. 2058: 

    Arsenal are firmly on the back foot in Germany. Lewis Holtby makes progress down the right and his cross causes pinball in the box as the Gunners fail to clear. Schalke want a penalty for handball against Per Mertesacker but referee Nicola Rizzoli waves away the appeals as Arsenal finally clear.

  68. 2056: 

    Yaya Toure is the real driving force for Manchester City. He charges into the box down the left but cannot find a team-mate with his pullback and Ajax clear.

  69. 2055: 

    The ball is in the Ajax net as Sergio Aguero nips in to tap home, but it won't count as the forward was offside when he was put in by Gael Clichy's chipped ball into the box. Manchester City are turning up the pressure on Ajax, though.


    James Attenborough on Twitter: "Watching Ajax tonight, it feels like I have been transported back to 1995!"

    Rossydunn on Twitter: "All that height and City still can't defend corners! Joe Hart must be fuming."

    Hiten Patel on Twitter: "Why hasn't a top European side signed Klass-Jan Huntelaar? His finishing is ridiculously good."

  71. 2052: 

    Vito Mannone has just kept Arsenal ahead with a superb save to block a shot from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who was put clear on goal by a neat pass from Jermaine Jones. The Dutchman usually buries chances like that, as shown in the first half.

  72. 2051: 

    Meanwhile, Carlos Tevez is fouled on the left for a free-kick, which Gareth Barry delivers to Matija Nastasic deep and unmarked in the box but his volley on the turn flies over the bar.

  73. 2049: 

    Arsenal start the second half on the front foot and should possibly be further ahead as Lukas Podolski's cross from the right finds Olivier Giroud in space at the back post, but he volleys his shot into the turf and over the bar.

  74. 2048: 

    Games across the Football League are also getting back under way.

  75. 2048: 

    Daley Blind slides in and catches Samir Nasri. That is a nasty foul and Blind deserves his booking. Gareth Barry hits the free-kick into the box but Kenneth Vermeer comes out to claim.

  76. 2046: 
    KICK-OFF - SECOND HALF- Schalke 1-2 Arsenal
  77. 2045: 
    KICK-OFF - SECOND HALF- Man City 1-2 Ajax
  78. 2044: 

    Man City boss Roberto Mancini has seen enough to know a change is needed. On comes Mario Balotelli, off goes Javi Garcia.


    Tim in London on 81111 on text: "These group stages are getting me worried about the quality of the Premier League..."

    Will on 81111 on text: "Christian Eriksen is some player. His stay at Ajax won't last much beyond next summer, I'd imagine."

    Izzy on 81111 on text: "City are sorely missing David Silva. They lack any creativity or inspiration."

  80. 2043: 

    With Manchester City losing to Ajax, Borussia Dortmund's 2-1 half-time lead at Real Madrid is irrelevant for the Blues. Mario Gotze lifts the ball over Iker Casillas to restore the Group D leaders' advantage on the stroke of half-time at the Bernabeu. Second-placed Arsenal's lead at Group B rivals Schalke could prove vital as Olympiakos, the team directly below the Gunners, hold a 1-0 half-time lead against French visitors Montpellier.

    Group C leaders Malaga will become the first side to book their last-16 spot if the Group C half-time scorelines remain the same. Eliseu's low shot puts the Spanish team ahead against AC Milan at the San Siro. Malaga, who have won each of their previous three games, will progress tonight if they beat Milan and Zenit St Petersburg, who are losing 1-0 at Anderlecht, fail to turn around the deficit. Porto, another team with a 100% winning record, will qualify if they beat Dynamo Kiev and the sides are currently goalless in Ukraine.

  81. 2041: 

    A flurry of chances for Nottingham Forest at home to Middlesbrough in the Championship, but it remains goalless. Cardiff now lead 2-1 at Charlton, while Ian Holloway's Crystal Palace are playing good football and lead bottom club Ipswich by a single strike. In League One Swindon have restricted promotion-chasing Sheffield United to a 0-0 scoreline, while lowly Scunthorpe are two goals to the good at Walsall. League Two's battle at the top remains 0-0 between Gillingham and Cheltenham, while two goals in the last five minutes of the first half give Southend a 2-1 lead over Bristol Rovers.

  82. 2039: 
    BBC Sport's Dave Ornstein reports:Schalke 1-2 Arsenal

    "Giroud and Walcott strike to give Arsenal the perfect start, but how crucial might Huntelaar's stoppage-time strike prove?"

  83. 2037:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Man City's defending has been absolutely awful. It's not rocket science - mark someone and stay with them. The goals have been simplicity. City have been second-best for so long in this game, but at least it's only a goal deficit. City may need to go 4-3-3 and mirror Ajax, who are playing balls around on the floor and have never once lumped a ball up front."

  84. 2035:  
    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Etihad Stadium:Man City 1-2 Ajax

    "Roberto Mancini's body language is all stress as the half-time whistle goes. Ajax in control and Manchester City playing catch up after those woeful defensive errors."

  85. 2034: 
    HALF-TIME- Schalke 1-2 Arsenal
  86. 2031: 
    GOAL- Schalke 1-2 Arsenal - Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (45 + 2 mins)

    In the second minute of stoppage time, Schalke reduce the deficit. Arsene Wenger will be fuming at his side. Santi Cazorla (of all people) gives the ball away in midfield and the home side take full benefit as Lewis Holtby's brilliant first-time pass on the volley gives Klaas-Jan Huntelaar his first real sight of goal and he makes no mistake with a neat low drive back across Vito Mannone and in. That adds a completely different complexion to Wenger's team-talk.

  87. 2030: 
    HALF-TIME- Man City 1-2 Ajax

    Sean Sonnekus on Twitter: "Is this really the same City team as last season? Even Yaya Toure looks nonplussed at the fact they're losing."

    Zackary White on Twitter: "Ajax are far superior to these plodders..."

    Nigel on Twitter: "Wonderful football by Ajax - brilliant inter-exchanges. Love it from a neutral point of view."

  89. 2029: 

    Good news Arsenal fans. In the four games Olivier Giroud has scored for the Gunners, Theo Walcott has also scored and Arsenal have won them all. Walcott has scored eight goals in 13 games, only four of those he has started.

  90. 2029: 

    10 of this Ajax team played at the weekend just gone. They were beaten 2-0 at home by Vitesse Arnhem. Vitesse must be some side.

  91. 2027: 

    Olivier Giroud has a chance to double his tally for Arsenal but heads a free-kick straight at Lars Unnerstall.

  92. 2025:  
    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Etihad Stadium:

    "The atmosphere inside The Etihad still strangely subdued given the seriousness of Manchester City's plight - seems both players and fans in need of inspiration."

  93. 2025:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Ajax are very much in control here. They make the game look so simple, they have son many option for the man on the ball, and it's nearly always the right pass at the right time. The way City are trying to play is just far too obvious."


    England coach and former Manchester United coach Gary Neville tweets: "Zonal marking can work but it's a lot more complex and needs more work. With ever-changing teams and defence I just think its simpler man-to-man."

  95. 2025: 

    Meanwhile, in Germany, things are going swimmingly for Arsenal, who lead 2-0 and look reasonably comfortable. Schalke remain a clear threat, though, so the Gunners need to keep their wits about them. As if to emphasise that point Jefferson Farfan capitalises on a Thomas Vermaelen slip to drive to the edge of the box but his shot is poor and zips wide.

  96. 2023: 

    As they were in Amsterdam, Ajax are the better side technically and they have moved the ball well to take the sting out of Man City's post-goal momentum. The frustration is starting to creep back in to the home crowd again.


    Rebecca Oostendorp on Twitter: "Re Ben Lewis (1952): Maybe the Dutch league is better than the English league?"

    Okunade Bosman on Twitter: "Is it safe to say the Gunners are back?"

    James Woodcock on Twitter: "Wenger out, Wenger out, Wenger out. Oh, wait..."

  98. 2021: 

    In Group D (Man City's group), Real Madrid are level against Borussia Dortmund with Pepe heading home. The German side led for just six minutes.

  99. 2021: 

    In steaming into that early two-goal lead, Ajax are the first away club in Champions League history to score two goals within 20 minutes against an English opponent (infostrada). The gloss has been taken of that a little courtesy of Man City getting a goal back.

  100. 2019: 

    Siem de Jong senses the chance for a hat-trick for Ajax at the Etihad but fires his low shot wide from range.

  101. 2018: 

    As already mentioned, over at the Bernabeu, Borussia Dortmund strengthen their grip on Manchester City's Group D by netting the opener against Real Madrid. Marco Reus smashes a fierce volley past Iker Casillas, who may perhaps feel he should have done better at his near post. Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain are taking a major step towards last-16 qualification with a 1-0 lead in their home game against Group A's bottom side Dinamo Zagreb. The Croatians, still without a point, allow ex-Chelsea defender Alex to roam free in their penalty area and meet Zlatan Ibrahimovic's corner with a firm header. Anderlecht failed to score in their opening three Group C matches, but have finally found the net to go 1-0 ahead against Russian visitors Zenit St Petersburg.


    Finn in Marlborough on 81111 on text: "Olivier Giroud can't seem to score in England very much, yet in the Champions League..."

    Matt from Oxford on 81111 on text: "After recent performances the least Wenger could do is give Walcott a few games to prove himself up front as a striker. He's our only reliable goal scorer at the moment."

    Adam in London on 81111 on text: "City are really missing Milner. He works hard can get the ball in the box and can defend as well. A great all-round player."

  103. 2016: 

    Another couple of sniffs for City. Pablo Zabaleta feeds Samir Nasri down the right and bursts into the box to meet his cross at the near post, sending the ball looping across the face of the goal via a deflection. Gareth Barry rushes in to try to force the dropping home from point-blank range but only succeeds in fouling Ricardo van Rhijn. Soon after, Javi Garcia clips a ball deep into the box but it is just too high for Pablo Zabaleta to get any power on his header, which falls harmlessly into Kenneth Vermeer's hands.

  104. 2015:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "There is still no real sense of urgency from City, and when Ajax get on the ball they look by far the more comfortable. They always have an out ball, too."

  105. 2015: 

    It doesn't matter so much for City right now, but Borussia Dortmund have taken the lead against Real Madrid. That could be a significant and positive scoreline for Roberto Mancini's side if they can turn things around against Ajax.

  106. 2014: 

    Championship table toppers Cardiff are a goal to the good away at lowly Charlton, after a fourth minute Heidar Helguson strike. Managerless Blackpool are also a goal up, and dropping down a division Shrewsbury have pulled a goal back after falling behind two two goals in the first six minutes from Bournemouth. It's Yeovil 1-1 Stevenage, and the same scoreline in League Two between Fleetwood and Rotherham.

  107. 2013:  
    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Etihad Stadium:

    "Mario Balotelli was already going through some strenuous warming up as Yaya Toure pulled a goal back for Manchester City. The Etihad had been stunned into silence but now City's fans have something to cling to after that criminal early defending."

  108. 2010: 
    GOAL- Schalke 0-2 Arsenal - Olivier Giroud (26 mins)

    Arsenal are on fire as the much-maligned Olivier Giroud doubles their lead in Gelsenkirchen. Jack Wilshere looks to have a chance after a neat through-ball from Santi Cazorla but he is forced away from goal before Giroud pokes the ball out wide to Lukas Podolski and then darts into the box to dive in and head home. Arsene Wenger dances a merry jig on the touchline.

    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer at Etihad

    "Life a little brighter now. Yaya Toure pulls one back for Manchester City."

  110. 2009:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Absolutely brilliant technique from Yaya Toure. It was a bit like Cabaye's at the weekend for Newcastle against Liverpool, and it left the goalkeeper with no chance."

  111. 2007: 
    GOAL- Man City 1-2 Ajax - Yaya Toure (22 mins)

    City back in business. After pretty much gifting Ajax a two-goal lead they finally get going as Samir Nasri's cross from the right is nodded on and chested down by Yaya Toure before he swivels and volleys a powerful drive into the net. After being silenced during the opening 20 minutes, the Etihad erupts again with hope.

  112. 2007: 

    It may have been an explosive start in Manchester, but there are few fireworks elsewhere across Europe. Only Olympiakos, who began the evening three points behind second-placed Arsenal in Group B, have also struck. Portuguese defender Paulo Machado taps the Greek side ahead against bottom-of the table Montpellier after four minutes of their tie in Piraeus.

  113. 2006:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Nobody picked the runner up at all. It was a great finish, but again none of City's defenders moved until Ajax moved first, and once you get half a yard on players it's so much easier to score."

  115. 2003: 
    GOAL- Schalke 0-1 Arsenal - Theo Walcott (18 mins)

    Against the run of play Arsenal take the lead in Gelsenkirchen as Per Mertesacker's long ball forward draws an awful back-header from Roman Neustadter to put Olivier Giroud through on goal. Although the Frenchman hesitates, allowing Benedikt Howedes to slide in, Theo Walcott is on hand to flick the ball over Schalke keeper Lars Unnerstall and tap into an empty net.

  116. 2002: 
    GOAL- Man City 0-2 Ajax - Siem de Jong (17 mins)

    Correction: Manchester City are going to have to do this the really hard way. And they have only themselves to blame. Christian Eriksen's near-post corner is met by Siem de Jong, who glances a header past Joe Hart for his second goal of the game. Gareth Barry is at fault, as he is slow to react, allowing De Jong in to make his header. City are staring into the abyss.

  117. 2002: 

    Arsenal force a corner through good work from Jack Wilshere. The midfielder darts into the near post from the delivery but the home side put the ball behind again. After a bit of pinball in the box following the second corner, Lukas Podolski has a chance with a shot on the turn but can't get proper contact.


    Saqueeb Rajan on Twitter: "This is exactly what the game needed for us neutrals! Let's see how City respond!"

    Matt Graham on Twitter: "City goal shows again that you should have someone on both posts. Could have easily cleared that one."

    Gavin Scott on Twitter: "To be frank, the owners of City don't seem to be the trigger-happy type some are painting them as. But if City don't even win a game..."

  119. 2000: 

    Count the Man City defenders in the box stood still as De Jong prodded in that goal. There are at least five of them sleepwalking.

    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer at Etihad

    "Slack work as Man City fail to clear a corner and Siem de Jong scores. All after a bright City opening."

  121. 1958:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Man City didn't even need to concede that corner, and when the ball came in City's players just stood there. The Ajax man was the only one who seriously wanted to get on the end of it. That was a really poor goal to concede. There were four Ajax players in that penalty area versus eight City men."

  122. 1957: 

    Arsenal are under the cosh in Germany. A corner from the right is met by Benedikt Howedes but headed over the bar.

  123. 1955: 
    GOAL- Man City 0-1 Ajax - Siem de Jong (10 mins)

    Disaster at the Etihad for Manchester City. Ajax take the lead through a very soft goal. A corner from the right it met by Niklas Moisander and headed towards Joe Hart's left-hand post where Siem de Jong is perfectly-placed to hook the ball into the roof of the net. City are going to have to do this the hard way. Thankfully, they have plenty of time on their side.

  124. 1954: 

    Schalke are hitting their stride now. Lukas Podolski gives the ball away in midfield and Ibrahim Afellay tears away before forcing Vito Mannone into a near-post save from a low drive.


    Paul Thompson on Twitter: "If City lose tonight it might not just be the Champions League that's over for Mancini, it'll be his job."

    Ben Lewis on Twitter: "If City don't win tonight it's pathetic. Ajax are sitting fifth in a poor Dutch league, 10 points off the top already."

    Mike Simpson on Twitter: "The inclusion of Walcott gives the opposition something to be concerned about, which has been lacking in recent Arsenal games..."

  126. 1952: 

    Pablo Zabaleta gets in down the right for Man City but he is leaning back when it comes to shooting and fires over the bar.

  127. 1952: 

    I've now seen a replay of the early penalty incident. There was more to it than I though. Christian Poulsen did catch Yaya Toure in the box.

  128. 1951: 

    Schalke's first attack sees Christian Fuchs get a sniff in the Arsenal box but shoot wide of the post courtesy of a deflection. The resulting corner is dealt with eventually by Arsenal despite a few moments of panic.

  129. 1950: 

    Nothing to report from Gelsenkirchen yet. Lots of possession in midfield, little danger yet at either end.

  130. 1949: 

    For the record, Ajax have made one change from the side that outclassed City in Amsterdam a fortnight ago. Derk Boerrigter is on the right of their three-man front-line, in place of Tobias Sana.

  131. 1949:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Babel just ran past Kompany there. Worrying for City, because I don't think I've ever seen Ryan Babel run past anyone!"

  132. 1948: 

    Ryan Babel has a quick sprint into the City half but the home defence rally to prevent him reaching a dangerous area down the left.

  133. 1947: 

    Man City's first charge forward sees Samir Nasri in possession on the right corner of the box but he is crowded out. Seconds later there is a penalty shout as Yaya Toure tried to wriggle his way through in the box before falling over. Without the benefit of a replay, it didn't look like a spot-kick.

    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer at Etihad

    "Manchester City fans holding up a banner reading: 'We Still Believe'."

  135. 1945: 

    And we are under way across Europe.

  136. 1944: 

    Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, asked before kick-off if his players have to show the same sort of fighting spirit against Ajax that he demonstrated in a lively pre-match press conference on Monday: "They don't need to have my passion, they just need to play football like they know."


    Manchester City tweets: "Hearing the traffic around the stadium is causing a few problems tonight..."


    Opta tweets: "Joe Hart has been forced into making more saves (21) than any other goalkeeper in the 2012/13 Champions League so far."


    Infostrada tweets: "Dinamo Zagreb will start their match against Paris Saint-Germain with 11 Croatians in their starting line-up. This is the first time that 11 domestic players will begin a Champions League match for one team since Steaua Bucuresti did so on 1 November 2006 away against Real Madrid (1-0 loss)."

  140. 1942: 

    The clash of new managers tonight at 20:00 GMT in the Championship, as Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway welcomes Ipswich to Selhurst Park for his first game in charge. The Tractor Boys' new boss Mick McCarthy is looking to build upon his debut success at Birmingham on Saturday. Elsewhere, it's top versus almost bottom as league leaders Cardiff travel to face a Charlton team who are just one place outside the relegation zone.

    In League One there are 10 scheduled fixtures. Sheffield United can go three points clear at the top with a win at Swindon, while wins for Crawley or Stevenage over Coventry or Yeovil could catapult either of those sides into the top two.

    League Two bottom dwellers Aldershot and Wycombe meet at the Recreation Ground in a game that is easily a six-pointer. At the other end of the table, league leaders Gillingham host third-placed Cheltenham, and a win for the Gills will push them 10 points clear of the Robins.

  141. 1940: 

    Group C leaders Malaga also have a perfect record and coach Manuel Pellegrini insists his side are not daunted by their trip to seven-time European champions AC Milan, where a win will see them through. Second-placed Milan, who have made an indifferent start to the Serie A season, need victory with third-placed Zenit St Petersburg just one point behind. The Russians travel to bottom-of-the-group Anderlecht, who have failed to score in either of their three matches but have been boosted by netting nine times in their past two domestic games.

  142. 1939:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Mancini is under such pressure as the City manager after winning the Premier League last season. The players he signed this summer - have they seriously strengthened the team? No. They've thickened out the squad but haven't added quality.

    "In all of their three Champions League games so far they have made lots of mistakes. The players have made mistakes, and tactically Mancini has sometimes been hopelessly all over the place."


    Mark Chmarny on Twitter: "Tevez starts up front for City. If they win, and he does well, Balotelli may have a long cold winter on the bench."

    Tom Castle on Twitter: "Man City is a desperate, wounded animal. Nothing more dangerous. I suspect they'll cruise to an easy victory."

    Ronil Kumar on Twitter: "Mark Lawrenson (1922), why can't Arsenal go for FA Cup or Capital One Cup and the Champions League spot?"

  144. 1938: 

    As our very own Mr Chris Bevan informs me, Man City can rely on a pretty damn impressive home record in European competition to give them confidence tonight. In their history, across 40 European ties at either Maine Road or the Etihad they have only lost twice. They have also played one tie at Barnsley's ground Oakwell - because the Etihad was hosting a Red Hot Chilli Peppers gig - which they won against EB/Streymur. Bevan.

  145. 1935: 

    Former Manchester City manager Peter Reid: "Manchester City are undefeated in the Premier League, they have had a couple of poor performances in Europe but they are still a formidable team with formidable players. The group they were in last year was difficult and this one is too. Frist and foremost they have to take care of Ajax tonight, if they don't get a win they can kiss it goodbye."

    On a British team's overall chances of winning the Champions League: "It is tough at the moment. There are some good quality sides out there. I wouldn't be surprised if one of ours has a run in the Champion's League but there is so much quality, the Germans have been impressive, so it is difficult out there. Real Madrid are my pick to win it. I have a feeling that Jose Mourinho is desperate for the Champions League this year."

  146. 1933: 

    Porto are controlling Group A after maximum points in their opening three matches and they will clinch their quarter-final berth with a point at Dynamo Kiev. But the Ukrainian side, looking for their second win to maintain their pressure on Porto and second-placed Paris Saint-Germain, are without the presence of coach Oleh Blokhin on their bench. The experienced 60-year-old has been advised by doctors to watch from the stands because of an ongoing heart complaint. Big-spending PSG will also move closer to the knockout phase if, as expected, they beat visitors Dinamo Zagreb. The Croatians are yet to earn a point or even score a goal in this year's tournament.

    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer at Etihad

    "Huge roar from the Ajax fans packed into one corner of Etihad as they continue their pre-match warm-up in front of them."

  148. 1930: 

    In the aftermath of Arsenal's 2-1 defeat at Manchester United at the weekend, Arsenal legend Tony Adams questioned the belief of the side. It is a theme manager Arsene Wenger has picked up on, suggesting the current crop of Gunners players have none... belief that is.

    "At the moment they have forgotten how good they are," said Wenger. "I believe that if you look at our overall performance we are indeed good, we are still the best defence in the league. If you look at the goals conceded, I believe at the moment we don't have to focus too much on that. Our game is about creating chances, about going forward, about having an offensive drive. What is most important is that we play again with our enthusiasm, desire to create chances and enjoy our game, more than about 'do we concede a goal or not'."

  149. 1927: 
    BBC Sport's Dave Ornstein reports:

    "Short of confidence and attacking inspiration, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits: 'I have a team of great players but at the moment they seem to have forgotten how good they are.' While conceding tonight's opponents are 'a very good team', he acknowledges 'we need a result'. Schalke counterpart Huub Stevens says Saturday's surprise loss at Hoffenheim may force him to 'bring in some fresher players', but he is adamant that game is 'behind us' and Arsenal are the sole focus."

  150. 1924: 

    While Manchester City's fate remains firmly in their own hands, the Blues will also be keeping one eye on the Bernabeu. Spanish champions Real Madrid host current Group D leaders Borussia Dortmund, with both sides looking firm favourites to reach the knockout stage. Dortmund will qualify if they win. Olympiakos host Montpellier in the other game in Arsenal's Group B and three points really is a must for each team if they want to overhaul the Gunners and Schalke. A win for the German side will see them through.


    Jack in Norwich on 81111 on text: "I can see wins for Ajax and Schalke tonight. City and Arsenal have both been poor in Europe this year, and that won't change tonight."

    Ajay from London on 81111 on text: "The reaction to Arsenal's predicament has been way over the top. We are sixth in the league after 10 games and second in our Champions League group. Lighten up, Gooners."

    Sam in Lincoln on 81111 on text: "Like the look of this Arsenal team tonight. Time for the likes of Vermaelen and Giroud to step up to the mark!"

  152. 1922:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "A lot of Arsenal supporters quite rightly say they haven't won a trophy in seven seasons. But would they want to win the Capital One Cup or the FA Cup and not be in the Champions League? That is a fair question."

  153. 1920: 
    Schalke v Arsenal (19:45 GMT)

    Theo Walcott is given his first start in this season's Champions League as Arsenal make two changes from the side that lost at Manchester United on Sunday. Walcott lines up on the right side of a front three that includes Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. The other alteration sees Laurent Koscielny replace Andre Santos, with Thomas Vermaelen switching to left-back. Schalke are unchanged from Saturday's defeat by Hoffenheim, so Klaas-Jan Huntelaar leads the line with fellow Emirates Stadium scorer Ibrahim Afellay and Jefferson Farfan in support.

  154. 1917: 

    There are eight graduates from the Ajax academy playing in their starting XI tonight compared to one (young defender Courtney Meppen-Walter) from City's academy in Roberto Mancini's entire squad. This is not designed to condemn City by insinuation but you have to applaud Ajax for their approach and success in implimenting it, especially in an age when clubs are being forced to adhere to stricter financial rules.

  155. 1914: 
    BBC Sport's Dave Ornstein reports:Schalke v Arsenal (19:45 GMT)

    "With three defeats in five matches and pressure mounting on manager Arsene Wenger, Arsenal travel to Gelsenkirchen for a tie that could prove critical to their Champions League aspirations. Schalke proved too strong for the Gunners 13 days ago, yet the Germans saw an eight-match unbeaten run end at Hoffenheim on Saturday and have not scored in their last three home meetings with English opposition. Hope for Arsenal, but can they capitalise?"

  156. 1912:  
    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty at Etihad Stadium:Man City v Ajax (19:45 GMT)

    "Manchester City face the defining moment of their faltering Champions League campaign against Ajax at Etihad Stadium. Anything other than victory and their hopes of reaching the knockout phase are effectively over for a second successive season. City have been wholly unconvincing so far, with defeats at Real Madrid and Ajax and a fortunate draw at home to Borussia Dortmund. They cannot afford another slip tonight."

  157. 1910: 
    LINE-UPS- Man City v Ajax (19:45 GMT)

    Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Javi Garcia, Barry, Nasri, Toure, Aguero, Tevez. Subs: Pantilimon, Maicon, Dzeko, Sinclair, Kolarov, Balotelli, Meppen-Walter.

    Ajax: Vermeer, Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind, De Jong, Poulsen, Schone, Boerrigter, Eriksen, Babel. Subs: Cillessen, Enoh, Sana, Veltman, Denswil, Dijks, Fischer.

    Referee: Peter Rasmussen (Denmark)

  158. 1909:  
    Mark Lawrenson, at Etihad Stadium for BBC Radio 5 live

    "Man City shouldn't be in this mess. In Madrid they should at least have got a point from that game, but they were tactically naive. I'm interested to see that Aguero, Tevez and Yaya Toure return - that quality should be enough to see you through."

  159. 1908: 

    Is that usually well-attached, ice-cold mask of Roberto Mancini's starting to slip? Yesterday the Italian launched into an angry tirade against questioning about his revelation he could have joined "seven or eight" other clubs last season. It just so happens that this occurred on the eve of a potentially defining moment in his City tenure.

    "My work is here, I've worked for two years. I built this team with the chairman and owner. We won three trophies in two years. For 35 years we didn't win anything - never. Please have respect for people sometimes," said Mancini.

    So, is the pressure getting to the Italian? Answers on a tweet to #bbcfootball.

  160. 1905:  
    Mark Pougatch, 5 live Sport presenter

    "Man City have had a miserable time in the Champions League for the second successive season. Now it's straightforward for them - they just have to win tonight. A draw or a defeat just will not do."

  161. 1903:  
    Perry Groves, Former Arsenal forward on BBC Radio 5 live

    "Manchester City need to win their final three games. They have to beat Ajax tonight, though I can't see them getting victories against Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid. The pressure will mount on Roberto Mancini - the owners want to win to raise their profile in Europe."


    Opta tweets: "Only eight teams with one point or fewer after three games have made it to the next stage in Champions League history. Three of those teams were English."

  163. 1900: 
    LINE-UPS- Schalke v Arsenal (19:45 GMT)

    Schalke 04: Unnerstall, Uchida, Howedes, Matip, Fuchs, Jones, Neustadter, Farfan, Holtby, Afellay, Huntelaar. Subs: Hildebrand, Marica, Hoger, Papadopoulos, Moritz, Draxler, Kolasinac.

    Arsenal: Mannone, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Arteta, Wilshere, Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud. Subs: Shea, Andre Santos, Djourou, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Chamakh.

    Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)

  164. 1859:  
    Perry Groves, Former Arsenal forward on BBC Radio 5 live

    "Tonight it depends what sort of belief Arsenal can take to Schalke. On Saturday they looked like they simply didn't believe they could beat Manchester United. Half of tonight' s battle will be in their heads.

    "The thing that worries me is that at the back on Saturday at Old Trafford Arsenal looked very, very loose. Schalke's main threat is up front, with the likes of Ibrahim Afellay and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar."

    Gary Lineker, Match of the Day presenter

    "Santos left out by Wenger? Not to worry, he has an extra shirt to keep him warm on the bench..."


    Alfie Jones on Twitter: "I fancy Man City to beat Ajax very comfortably tonight. They have to turn up at some point in Champions League this season and tonight's the night."

    Sam Rudd on Twitter: "So sick of hearing about how 'doomed' Arsenal are. I would love a confident win to make everyone peddling that nonsense shut up."

    Brett McCormick on Twitter: "It's that day where the whole world stops and pays attention to a significant event. Yes, Champions League football is back!"

    Forget Ohio, if City and Ajax start really going at each other, Manchester could be the real swing state tonight

  167. 1854: 

    Two other decisive permutations to look out for in the Champions League tonight:

    In Group A, Porto will qualify if they repeat their win over Dynamo Kiev from two weeks ago, while in Group C, if Malaga beat AC Milan they will qualify if Zenit fail to beat Anderlecht.

  168. 1852: 

    Before we go any further I think we need to clear up the permutations regarding Manchester City tonight. Quite simply, if they lose they are out. If Ajax win, City will remain bottom of the group, at least five points behind the team in third. The points the other three teams take off each other in the remaining games means even if City beat both Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid in their last two games it will not be enough to snatch second.

    However, if City win, it is game on. Just. They'll be above Ajax by a point but will still likely need to beat Dortmund and Real.


    Opta tweets: "Arsenal have fired in 22 shots in this season's Champions League, fewer than any other team."

  170. 1849:  
    Perry Groves, Former Arsenal forward on BBC Radio 5 live

    "This is a very good Schalke side. They're lying second in the Bundesliga and they are unbeaten in their last 14 group stage games in Europe. Arsenal need to show some strength and steel, which they didn't show on Saturday."

    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer

    "At Etihad to see if Manchester City can finally raise their Champions League game. Nothing other than victory will do."

  172. 1846: 

    I ask only one thing of you fine people - to get involved and tell us what you think of tonight's action. Will Man City sink or swim? Can Arsenal wipe away some of the doom and gloom surrounding the club? And will Andre Santos have the nerve to ask for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's shirt at half-time? Answers, as always, can be offered on Twitter via the hashtag #bbcfootball or text using the number 81111 (UK). If you can put your name on your texts as well, that would be grand.

  173. 1844: 
    Man City v Ajax (19:45 GMT)

    BREAKING: Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero start up front for Manchester City. Pablo Zabaleta returns from injury to start in defence. Javi Garcia is in midfield.

  174. 1842: 
    Schalke v Arsenal (19:45 GMT)

    BREAKING: Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud all start for Arsenal in against Schalke. Laurent Koscielny comes in for Andre Santos in defence, with Thomas Vermaelen switching to left-back.

  175. 1842: 

    As if the fortunes of two of our teams in Europe wasn't enough to follow, there is also a packed schedule of Football League matches tonight featuring pretty much every team from Cardiff at the top of the Championship to Barnet propping up League Two.

  176. 1839: 

    Arsenal's Champions League situation is not quite as grave as City's, but tonight they too come up against a side who gave them a footballing lesson two weeks ago. Arsene Wenger's under-fire side are in Germany to face Schalke, looking to gain a victory that will go a long way towards strengthening their qualification hopes and taking some of the sting out of the growing discontent amongst the Gunners faithful.

  177. 1835: 

    If City are to keep alive their Champions League hopes for this season, the boot must be firmly on the other foot tonight against an Ajax side who just 13 days ago demolished Mancini's men in Amsterdam. It is time for City to prove they have done what their manager requested 11 months ago, otherwise the Italian could well be offering another apology to club and fans.

  178. 1830: 

    "For us, this is the first time in the Champions League and the first group we got was difficult. We are disappointed and I am sorry for the club, for our supporters and my players because I think they deserve to play in the Champions League. It is my opinion that we need to improve as a squad and to play better next year. It will be up to us to improve in the next six months." - Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, December 2011.

    Late last year, Manchester City's debut Champions League campaign ended in failure in the final round of group-stage fixtures. 11 months on, having been handed another tough group, City stand on the verge of elimination again, this time two games earlier. The equation is a simple one for the English champions tonight: lose and they are out.

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League Table

Championship summary table; it charts each team by position, team name, games played, total goal difference and points
Position Team Played Goal Difference Points
No movement 1 Derby 33 33 65
No movement 2 Middlesbrough 33 28 63
No movement 3 Ipswich 33 20 60
No movement 4 Bournemouth 33 30 59
No movement 5 Norwich 33 27 59
No movement 6 Watford 33 26 59
No movement 7 Brentford 33 10 58
No movement 8 Wolves 33 6 54
No movement 9 Nottm Forest 33 5 47
No movement 10 Blackburn 33 -1 44
No movement 11 Sheff Wed 33 -4 43
No movement 12 Huddersfield 33 -9 42
No movement 13 Cardiff 33 -5 41
No movement 14 Leeds 33 -8 41
No movement 15 Reading 33 -13 40
No movement 16 Charlton 33 -9 39
No movement 17 Birmingham 33 -12 39
No movement 18 Brighton 33 -4 37
No movement 19 Bolton 33 -12 37
No movement 20 Fulham 33 -14 36
No movement 21 Rotherham 33 -17 34
No movement 22 Millwall 33 -22 31
No movement 23 Wigan 33 -18 25
No movement 24 Blackpool 33 -37 22