The draws for the Champions League Round of 16 has been made and we are ready to bring you the breakdown of each match for you today. Which team will be happy to see their drawn team and who are the favourites to reach the UEFA Champions League Finals? Let’s break this down for you but before that, we will recommend you book your UEFA Champions League Final tickets in advance that will be played in Wembley because there is a very likely chance to witness an English Premier League team featuring in that.
Porto vs Arsenal
Arsenal’s best performance in the Champions League so far has been their defeat in the final of the 2006 Champions League season and they will at the very least want to make it to the final two if not win the whole thing. Arsenal have significantly improved on their squad over the summer and with the confidence of beating Manchester City in the Premier League this season and having beaten them over penalties in the Community Shield too, they will be feeling comfortable with the drawn team Porto for the Round of 16 action. There is no doubt about the class and caliber of the Arsenal team but the lack of European experience is the only thing that can keep them in check after learning lessons from the last season, they are surely one of the stronger contenders for the Champions League. Arsenal needs to sort out their issues (or options to pick from) of goalkeeping before heading out against Porto because an experienced team like Porto would love to replicate their glory from the Mourinho days.
Porto who ended up as runners-up in their group, scored the most goals (15) out of any other group runner-up. Porto have kept one clean sheet in their group stage campaign and failed to score a goal in only one match against Barcelona. This record pretty much ensures the squad won’t be suffering a fate similar to the last time they matched against Arsenal where they got thrashed by 6-2 aggregate in the Round of 16 of the 2010 Champions League.
Napoli vs Barcelona
The expectations of matching up to their last season’s performances will be a burden for both teams. On paper, this is a clash of current Italian and current Spanish champions but the current form of both teams isn’t anywhere near their last season’s best. Xavi’s genius tactics seem to have gone under a rock ever since their talisman striker Robert Lewandowski has come up against a goal drought. Barcelona did end up winning their group after beating Porto on both occasions but despite topping the group they ended up having an inferior goal difference than Porto. This signifies the problems that Barcelona will be coming with against Napoli.
Napoli won only their third Scudetto of their entire history last season. It was believed that Napoli would face stern challenges in the next season to maintain a similar performance. Even after being able to keep their main striker, Victor Oshiman from joining the London Club Chelsea, they couldn’t replicate their performances from last season. The main reason for this lackluster show from the Italians can be boiled down to the exit of Luciano Spalleti. Rudi Garcia who replaced him got sacked months after joining and currently, Walter Mazzarri is in charge of Napoli who are well behind Inter in the Serie A.
Paris Saint Germain vs Real Sociedad
PSG came from one of the most difficult group stages of the entire Champions League arguably. They are currently leading the Ligue 1 comfortably as well. Most importantly, they are doing this while the team is currently undergoing a transition after the departures of notable figures like Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr, and Sergio Ramos. PSG’s focus must be on presenting a united front that will play as a club and would want to present local talent at the forefront rather than having players with huge egos playing together and leading to their demise every single year. Their group victory however can not be said as a walk in the park because they won the group but after displaying an average show they qualified largely on a debatable penalty decision.
Real Sociedad enters the knockout stages after coming out of the least intimidating group. Their performance ranks high because they came ahead of Inter and Benfica, both of whom enjoy Champions League knockout stages every year. With the retirement of David Silva who played a key role in their Champions League qualification, the side has retained their defensive structure and solidity. Real Sociedad conceded the least goals out of any Champions League side this season in the group stages and maintained a clean sheet in all their away games.
Inter vs Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid doesn’t seem to be the same club that was giving stern competition to the Spanish giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona a few years ago. They are still producing the goods somehow as they won their group and scored the highest goals in the group stage (after Manchester City). Atletico Madrid surprisingly features their veteran players doing a fine job such as the partnership of Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann up front, Koke holding the center and Jan Oblak commanding the goalpost.
Last season’s finalists Inter could not win their group and ended behind Real Sociedad. Their domestic form has stayed strong and their fans would hope for a better showing in the knockouts much like the last season from Simone Inzaghi and his men.
PSV Eindhoven vs Borussia Dortmund
Peter Bosz’s side has had a much harder time in Europe than in their domestic competition. They managed to win only two group-stage matches but are currently 10 points clear of Feyenoord at the top. Dortmund won the group consisting of AC Milan, PSG, and Newcastle but their domestic form has been lackluster, to say the least as they sit in the 5th spot and recently conceded a 4-goal loss to Bayern Munich.
Lazio vs Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich made their qualification straightforward after their opening week victory against Manchester United, but the side did face a hiccup in the form of a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Frankfurt the weekend before last. Harry Kane has adjusted beautifully in Germany and is having full sport of rapid running forwards alongside but the defense needs a check if they are to do well further. Lazio has got to climb a huge mountain to make it to the top 8 as their current form isn’t showing promise.
Copenhagen vs Manchester City
The defending champions have not found the fluent gear yet in this year’s campaign as far as the Premier League is concerned. However, such was the case last time when Manchester City finally switched their play up a level and came out as a dominant force. With the return of Kevin De Bruyne on the cards in the coming weeks, we could well be looking at a repeat for Manchester City in the Champions League. Copenhagen surprised many when they made it to the final 16 and they will have to gather a lot of spirit to face up to Manchester City.
Leipzig vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid along with Manchester City were the only two sides who won all their group-stage games this season, and although they are facing a stern challenge from Girona domestically, they are still the favorites for the La Liga title. However, they will have to continue the same level of performance to have any hope for another Champions League title because they were beaten easily by Manchester City last time around and they need to get their act together this time around. Leipzig have had an expected result out of group stages where they beat Young Boys and Red Star comfortably but couldn’t get any points off Manchester City.
- Paul Merson predicts who will secure Champions League football – Tottenham or Aston Villa
- Chris Sutton predicts score of Everton clash v West Ham
- Predicted Everton starting line-up v West Ham
- FA Cup quarter-final predictions – Manchester City and Liverpool favourites ahead of United
- David Prutton predicts outcome of Huddersfield v Leeds United