Analysis

Champions League Draw- Round of 16: Winner and Losers

Champions League

This season’s Champions League was always going to be one of the best in the recent years.

With Pep’s Manchester City, Neymar’s PSG, Madrid’s La Duodecima side and Gigi Buffon’s last shot at European Glory, the competition in the Europe is insane. We have already seen the glimpse of it when Atletico Madrid, Dortmund and Napoli were knocked out of the competition in the group stages.

The groups are done and dusted and it is time for the knockout stage now. The teams were drawn for the Round of 16 and to the delight of football fans, there are some extraordinary matches waiting to set the stage on fire. While few teams are happy with the draw, others are not very thrilled about the draw.

Let us take a look at the winners and the losers of Champions League Round of 16 Draw:

 

Winners:

#1 Manchester City:

Nothing can go wrong for Manchester City right now. They are leading the EPL by ELEVEN points and they recently won the Manchester Derby to paint the city blue. And in the pursuit of their first European title, the Citizens are drawn against FC Basel.

The Swiss are not a weak side and they have shown that against Manchester United in the group stages. But Pep will be more than happy with the draw as he has dodged some of the difficult match-ups against Juventus, Bayern, and Real Madrid, for now.

Manchester City has one of the best midfielders in their ranks- Kevin De Bruyne. And along with Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling in the wings and Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero in the box, City have one of the deadliest attacks this season. Add their improved defense to it and you might just get the Champions League winning recipe.

Pep’s team should not have much trouble with the tie and will be expected to enter the quarterfinals in style.

 

#2 Manchester United:

The Manchester clubs were quite lucky in yesterday’s draw. But unlike City, Manchester United are drawn against the more competitive opponents, Sevilla. The Spanish side is 5-time Europa League winners and has troubled the likes of Real and Barca in La Liga at times.

But if Sevilla’s current form and the history of the Champions League in recent times is anything to go by, Mourinho’s men should not have problems with this tie. Sevilla was defeated by Leicester City in the Round of 16 last season where the Spanish side blew up the 2-1 advantage from the 1st leg.

They were also thrashed 5-1 by Spartak Moskva in the group stages. United, on the other hand, won 5 out of 6 games in the group stage and conceded just 3 goals.

Jose Mourinho is definitely smiling right now!

 

#3 Bayern Munich:

Bayern’s Champions League started with the worst possible result at the Germans lost 3-0 against PSG. The team was out of form and Carlo Ancelotti was losing the control of the dressing room. The Bavarians were in a big trouble, but are a change in management, the Bundesliga Champions are slowly coming back to their best under Jupp Heynckes.

Bayern is drawn against Beşiktaş, the best draw they could have hoped for. Heynckes’ men were facing the possibility of drawing against 4 English sides, but they have managed to avoid them for now. Beşiktaş on the other hand, will consider themselves unlucky after having played some great football in the group stage but now they really need to be at their best to beat the always lethal Bayern side.

 

#4 Liverpool:

The Reds have done exceptionally well in their comeback to the Champions League. With the “fab-four” in full force, Liverpool has scored 23 goals in 6 group stage games. To give you the idea of destruction caused by Klopp’s men: Only PSG have scored more goals than Liverpool in the group stages.

FC Porto is now in line to face the wrath of “Fab-Four”. The Portuguese side has performed surprisingly well to finish 2nd in their group ahead of French Champions Monaco and RB Leipzig. But facing the monster called Mo Salah and the little magician named Philippe Coutinho might be too much to handle for Porto.

Losers:

#1 Real Madrid vs PSG:

Real vs PSG, losers? How? Hear me out first. Real Madrid vs PSG is a mouth-watering clash with the number of personal battles within them. Both the teams are favored to win the title and they were going to face each other someday. But, no manager would have wanted to see this clash as early as in February.

Champions League is Madrid’s favorite competition and with Neymar-Cavani-Mbappe, PSG is definitely the contenders this season. So, it will be really sad to see one of these teams bowing out of the competition in Round of 16. IF Madrid loses, we will not have the chance to see Champions League hat-trick by the Los Blancos and IF PSG is defeated, the deadly trio will have to wait for another year to get their hands on the trophy.

Maybe a semi-final clash that arrived too soon?

#2 Chelsea:

Not much has gone right for Chelsea since their EPL glory back in May. The Blues sit 14 points behind Manchester City in the table and they wasted a great chance to win their group in the Champions League. There were only three options for Chelsea in the draw, PSG, Barca, and Beşiktaş. And they got Barcelona, the old foes.

Chelsea has beaten Barcelona before and will fancy doing the same thing again. But the Catalan side is unbeaten both in Spain and Europe this season and have conceded just one goal in the group stages. And by the time this clash comes, Chelsea might be busy fighting to stay in the top 4 in the EPL. So odds are really against Conte’s men and they will have to work extremely hard to beat Barcelona.

Plus, Messi has never scored against Chelsea before. Just like he hadn’t against Gigi, Cech, and Neuer. You know where this is going, right?

#3 Juventus:

In the game between Juventus and Tottenham, it is difficult to dub the Turin side as a loser. But such has been the season that Juventus will be little unhappy with this draw. Last season’s finalists have struggled to perform consistently this season in both Italy and Europe. The Italian Champions are currently 3rd in the table and had to wait for the last matchday to qualify for the knockout stage.

Spurs are having a much worse domestic season than Juventus with the Lilywhites in 6th position. But Pochettino’s men have done exceptionally well in Europe this season with 3-1 victory against holders Real Madrid as the highlight of it. Spurs also won the group ahead of Madrid and Dortmund will be looking to continue their great form in Europe.

Come back in February, Juventus might be in the intense fight with Inter and Napoli for the top spot in Italy while Spurs have all the time in the world to get it right in Europe.

Author’s take:

Mamma mia! This was literally my first reaction to the draw. Looks like football Gods are happy with the fans and hence they have made some unbelievable match-ups. For the winners and losers, this is just on paper, let us wait for the actual on-field action.

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