With the group stage done and dusted, European football’s top competition is knock-out from here on in. Starting with the English clubs, here’s a look at Monday’s Champions League Draw for the Round of 16.
FC Basel vs Manchester City
Pep Guardiola will be very happy with this reward for topping Group F. City are already 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League, and they have the talent and resources to tear Basel apart. José Mourinho made the mistake of underestimating the Swiss champions, but City are a class above.
Sevilla vs Manchester United
Mourinho won’t be too scared of Sevilla, who lost 5-0 to Real Madrid last weekend. They’re not the best defensive side around, whereas United arguably are. Over two legs, they should have enough to beat Sevilla, but you never know. French striker Wissam Ben Yedder already has 6 goals in 6 games.
Porto vs Liverpool
This isn’t Porto’s strongest-ever team, but they made light work of Monaco and RB Leipzig in Group G. Will Liverpool be next? If Jürgen Klopp’s attacking quartet play like they did against Maribor and Spartak Moscow, the answer is no. But if Liverpool’s defenders play like they did against Sevilla, then perhaps.
Juventus vs Tottenham
Spurs topped the ‘Group of Death’, beating champions Real Madrid along the way. How did the Champions League Draw reward them? With a trip to last year’s runners-up, Juventus. The Italian giants aren’t having a great season, but they do have Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuaín. Tottenham must stay confident.
Chelsea vs Barcelona
Poor Antonio Conte. It must feel like the Fixture Gods are out to get him. Barcelona aren’t the Barcelona of ‘MSN’ but the ‘M’ and the ‘S’ are still there, and the team now looks more balanced. Chelsea are no pushovers, however. They came through a tough group and showed that they can travel to Spain and win.
Real Madrid vs PSG
It’s hard not to be excited about this prospect - Neymar, Cavani and Mbappé vs Ronaldo, Isco and Benzema. Anything could happen, and goals are guaranteed.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs AS Roma
The two dark horses of this season’s Champions League go head-to-head. Shakhtar knocked out Napoli and beat Manchester City, while Roma knocked out Atlético Madrid and finished above Chelsea.
Bayern Munich vs Beşiktaş
On paper, Bayern got very lucky in the Champions League draw. However, the Beşiktaş line-up includes Pepe, Ricardo Quaresma and Ryan Babel. And the trip to Turkey will not be easy.