The Champions League draw was today for the remaining 16 teams that qualified in the group stages. Five of those being English teams left us a slim possibility for matchups but there were still some very good draws. Let’s take a look at the draw:
Some big-time match-ups no doubt. We’re going to highlight the top 3 games to watch.
Juventus vs Tottenham
What an awful draw for group winners Tottenham. Tottenham topped their group, which contained defending champions Real Madrid and a strong Dortmund side. The Spurs have looked excellent in their Champions League campaign despite being dreadful in their domestic league. I like Juventus to win here but it’ll no doubt be a close tie. I think Tottenham is stronger than most of the teams in the draw but I like Juventus to outclass them here as they have a bit more experience in the knockout stages. The Spurs clock in at an average age of 25.7 while Juventus is at 28.8. Fun fact of this draw? Juventus has been eliminated in the last FIVE times they’ve matched up with an English team.
Real Madrid vs PSG
Congrats to PSG for topping their group in record-scoring fashion! Bayern Munich was surely a tough opponent and they completely outclassed them. Munich gets Besiktas in the next round. PSG’s reward you ask? The reigning player of the year and the reigning champions of the year, Real Madrid. Madrid has not looked to be the “Galaticos” of the past but it is hard to count them out at any given moment — especially on the big stage. PSG has been coasting through their league with their new addition — just a guy called Neymar. This is a great measuring tool for PSG to definitively put them in the contenders category. I think PSG is a great squad but I can’t see Ronaldo and Real Madrid being knocked out in the first round of the knockout stages. Give me Real Madrid in a tough one win aggregate series.
Chelsea vs Barcelona
Oh how we’ve missed this tie. Chelsea and Barcelona have met 6 times in the Champions League, second only to Madrid-Munich. Chelsea haven’t been as sharp as their league winning campaign last year, and Barcelona has been extremely impressive this year even after the loss of Neymar. Lionel Messi, however, has historically struggled against Chelsea logging 29 shots in 8 games against the club without a single goal. The last time these two teams met, Chelsea drew 2-2 at Camp Nou to send them into the finals (which ultimately they won). It’s going to take a lot of grit but give me Chelsea in a first round upset special. Look for them to be physical with Barcelona and grind out a low-scoring tie.