Bold Predictions for the Champions League Round of 16
After an anxious wait, the draws for the UEFA Champions League were made and as expected, there are some mouth-watering fixtures football fans would feast their eyes with come February and March. The competition began with 32 teams and it has been broken down to the 16 finest European sides with all eyes on the “big ear” trophy.
At the end of these set of fixtures, eight teams will be eliminated from the competition and would shift their focus to other domestic competitions, while eight teams will advance to the quarterfinal stage where another set of draws will take place.
Listed below are Gooner Daily’s bold predictions for the Round of 16;
The Oilers Would Give FC Barcelona a Run for their Money…But Will be Eliminated
Manchester City had been unsuccessful in their previous two Champions League attempts but they finally made it beyond the group stage when they were handed a relatively easy group with the exception of the defending champions, Bayern Munich. Despite winning five games from a possible six, the moneybags ended in second place and got a tasty draw against Spanish juggernauts, FC Barcelona.
Manchester City would be odds on to continue their good home form against their Spanish counterparts but I expect them to crumble at the might of the Nou Camp, which will ultimately be their undoing. They’d give Barca a run for their money but they’d be ousted from the competition.
It Will be a Stroll in the Park for the Red Devils Against the Modern-Day Spartans
Manchester United may be struggling in the Premier League but they are firing all cylinders in Europe and many fans were shocked to see how they decimated Bayer 04 Leverkusen in their home form. The Red Devils earned an easy draw for winning their group as they were paired with the Greek heavyweights, Olympiakos Piraeus.
Mitroglou would definitely be one to watch for Olympiakos but considering the qualities of both sides, it would be a stroll in the park for Manchester United as their experience in the competition as well as the firepower of RVP and Shrek would be too hot for the Greeks to handle.
Atletico Madrid Would Shock AC Milan Despite their Champions League Pedigree
AC Milan might have won the Champions League seven times and would boast of having a host of star players down the years but the current crop of the Rossoneri isn’t as invincible as the teams of the past. With the likes of Mario Balotelli, Kaka’ and Stephan El Shawarma, Milan pose a great threat but Atletico Madrid have been in phenomenal form this season sweeping past all comers in their Champions League group.
In Diego Costa and David Villa, Atletico poses a great attacking threat to AC Milan and they would be a thorn in the Italian’s flesh. I expect a close game but I see Atletico edging past their illustrious Italian opponents.
Paris St. Germain Would Va Va Voom to the Quarterfinals at Bayer Leverkusen’s Expense
When you have Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in your ranks, you’re bound to be a force to be reckoned with. Bayer Leverkusen is a decent side with a couple of household names here and there but they were paired against the Ligue 1 defending champions, PSG, which would seem like the end of the line for the Germans.
Leverkusen hasn’t been too impressive in the competition this season and that 5-0 reverse fixture at home to Manchester United at a time they were struggling to get their act right in their domestic league proved how poor the Germans were. I expect PSG to ease past their German opponents for a quarterfinal berth.
Didier Drogba Would Haunt his Former Team but Chelsea Would Go Through
Didier Drogba is held in high regard at Stamford Bridge and his goalscoring exploits for the club endeared him to the hearts of Chelsea fans worldwide. After eight seasons with the club and well over 150 goals or so, Drogba embarked on a new adventure in China before returning to the big stage with Galatasaray SK in Turkey.
It seemed as if it was written in the stars, but when Chelsea got a draw against the Turkish giants, it was evident that the Ivorian legend was going to get a homecoming in the grandest of stages. A striker of Drogba’s quality will match Chelsea’s defense pound for pound but Jose Mourinho’s squad oozes of immense quality.
Drogba and Galatasaray would offer Chelsea a contest but the Blues would have enough in the tank to book a place in the quarterfinals.
Sayonara Schalke 04, the Champions League Was Fun While it Lasted
The thought of playing against Cristiano Ronaldo would send chills down the spine of any opposition defender and unfortunately, Schalke 04 is the team that stands in the way of Ororo and the quarterfinals. Last season, Schalke were in this position and they relinquished their spot to a strong Galatasaray side that went on to lose to Real Madrid in the quarterfinals.
Carlo Ancelotti has a plethora of stars to choose from and I expect them to breeze past Schalke like they weren’t there.
BVB Would be too Hot for Zenit to Handle
Last season, Borussia Dortmund went all the way to the finals of the competition and lost out to Bayern Munich in a nervy encounter. This season, they were paired in the Group of Death alongside Arsenal, Napoli and Olympique Marseille but they managed to do enough to finish at the summit of the relatively tough group.
Their reward for topping Group F was a clash with a Zenit side that had the lowest points amassed among all the teams that qualified for the knockout stages this season. Dortmund would definitely be too hot for Zenit to handle.
Gunners, Prepare for the Worst but Hope for the Best
Like a classic case of deja vu, Arsenal has been paired with Bayern Munich for the second season in a row and many are tipping the Gunners to crash out of the competition as they did last season. The Bavarians earned a great victory at the Emirates but the Gunners went to the Allianz Arena and scared the hosts was it wasn’t enough as the damage was already done in the first leg.
With the Gunners and FC Bayern topping their respective leagues, the buildup to the game would have an interesting outlook but all eyes are pointing towards Bayern’s direction as it’s perceived that they have enough in them to edge past the Gunners, which in fairness, is a correct assessment.
The Gunners will have to prepare for the worst but hope for the best.
Do you agree with Gooner Daily’s bold predictions?
Feel free to share your comments.
You can download the Gooner Daily BlackBerry App to receive notifications on your Smart Phone when a post is published.
You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back
Feel free to visit Gooner Daily’s Facebook page and click on the like button.
You can also join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List to get notifications of new posts by email by clicking on the Follow button