Published 11/09/2011 | 05:00
CSKA Moscow, Inter Milan, Lille, Trabzonspor
On paper this is Inter's group to lose but what form the 2010 winners take this season remains to be seen. The former Genoa coach, Gian Piero Gasperini, is now in charge and, at the very least, they should play an exciting brand of football.
Samuel Eto'o has departed for the riches on offer in Dagestan (though it is suggested he may commute to the Caucasus from his home in Milan), but Inter have been busy adding the highly-rated Ricky Alvarez from Velez Sarsfield, while Diego Forlan, signed on deadline day from Atletico Madrid, is more of a known quantity. The loan signing of Mauro Zarate is intriguing and if Gasperini can find a way to accommodate all then Inter could do well. Regardless, they should be able to navigate the group with relative ease.
Many people will have eyes on French champions Lille, mainly to see how Eden Hazard copes in his first season of Champions League football. The Belgian is one of the most wanted properties in European football and will be the fulcrum of an attacking line-up that now also includes Joe Cole.
CSKA Moscow, who have impressed this season in the Russian league, will feel that there is a top-two spot up for grabs while Trabzanspor, who replaced the suspended Fenerbahce, will aim to slip into third spot and reach the latter stages of the Europa League.
Key player: Eden Hazard
Key game: CSKA Moscow v Lille, Nov 22
Prediction: 1 Inter, 2 CSKA Moscow, 3 Lille, 4 Trabzonspor
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