Champions League Preview

Review of the last 16

The Champions League has been made. After a promising first leg for English teams in Europe it fell apart in the last two weeks. Manchester City and Liverpool sailed through and will be flying the flag for the Premier League in Europe’s elite competition.

Juventus proved too much for Tottenham as they battled away at Wembley showing their experience and class to take their chances and defended resolutely to keep Spurs at bay. Sevilla sprung a surprise in Manchester as they beat Manchester United 2-1 to progress to the Quarter Finals. Mourinho’s team were very disappointing over the two legs and offered very little in attacking football. Some lapse defending at Old Trafford gifted Ben Yedder and Sevilla a place in the Quarter Finals.

Chelsea played well in both games against Barcelona but just didn’t have enough. The scoreline at the Nou Camp didn’t really reflect the game I saw but that’s what Barcelona can do to teams. Spain go into the Quarter Finals with the most teams as Real Madrid also progressed knocking out one of the favourites for the competition in PSG. Neymar was injured in between legs but I still don’t think PSG had enough to trouble Madrid. After a very disappointing season Real Madrid have full focus on the Champions League, can they turn their season around and win the trophy three years in a row.

Besiktas made it easy for Bayern Munich after getting a man sent off within 20 minutes of the first leg. It would have been hard to see Besiktas qualify anyway but would have been nice to seen a level playing field. Finally, Roma battled past Shakhtar in what was a closely contested match up. Roma progress on the away goals rule but they may find it difficult in the next round.

Quarter Final Draw

The two English clubs have been drawn together in the Quarter Finals. After both won their home games against each other in the Premier League it’s sure to be an exciting double header. At least England are sure to have one representative in the Semi Finals. Who that will be is a very tough call, Man City look unstoppable and could be boosted by the return of Aguero. However, the only team to beat them in the league this year is Liverpool who have been improving all season and Klopp has a good record against Guardiola (W6, D1, L5).

Juventus v Real Madrid is the other stand out tie. A repeat of the 2017 Champions League final. Real Madrid came out 4-1 winners in that game but I think it will be a lot closer over two legs. Juventus have also been improving throughout the season and will be very tough opposition for a Madrid team who had a very poor 2017 but have looked more like themselves in 2018 especially in the Champions League.

The other two legs should be pretty straightforward for Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Barcelona play Roma who struggled past Shakhtar in the quarter finals and sit 18 point behind Juventus in the Italian league. Whereas Bayern Munich play Sevilla who are 5th in La Liga, 27 points off Barcelona. They didn’t look that impressive against Manchester United it was just a very bad United performance over two legs.

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