Bold Predictions for the Champions League Round of 16 Fixtures
Yes, it’s been a while since I published a post on this blog and to be honest, I really missed writing about Arsenal and football in general. A whole lot has happened since my last article on the blog and of course, Arsenal just had to Arsenal their way out the Premier League title race, leaving the FA Cup and the Champions League as the only realistic targets in what could prove to be Arsene Wenger’s final hoorah with the club? That’s just me echoing what Ian Wright said. Somehow, everybody seems to know a lot about the manager and his future these days.
Enough about that, let’s move to the article of the day! Champions League football is back again as we neutrals brace ourselves up for some wonderful football from Europe’s 16 best clubs. The group stages saw some shocks and surprises, especially with some ‘big’ clubs finishing in second place but the draws were made and we know what to expect in the next two days.
Without further ado, here are Gooner Daily’s bold predictions for the Champions League Round of 16 fixtures.
Paris St. Germain vs Barcelona (Parc des Princes)
PSG’s reward for failing to win their group was a clash against Barcelona and like Arsenal, I’m sure they’d get pissed off with the prospects of playing such a team with Barcelona’s caliber. PSG is one of the strongest teams in Europe and their striker has one of the most enviable goal scoring records in the last. Both teams come into the game with good form as well as good football on display, so I i will not be surprised if this match ends in a draw
Prediction: PSG 2-2 Barcelona
SL Benfica vs Borussia Dortmund (Estadio da Luz)
Benfica is running away with the Portuguese Super Liga with just two losses in 21 league but they are facing a fearless Dortmund side that have been worth their weight in gold in the Champions League this season. Dortmund hasn’t been in good form in the Bundesliga though, with just two wins in their last seven, dropping them to fourth place on the log and they would still be gnashing their teeth following a rather surprising loss to Darmstadt 98 last weekend.
Kostantinou Mitroglou and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be looking to lead the lines fo rtheir respective clubs, but I feel both teams have enough in the tank to edge out each other to a stalemate.
Prediction: Benfica 2-2 Dortmund
Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs Atletico Madrid (Bay Arena)
Bayer Leverkusen’s form has been indifferent this season and they find themselves languishing in ninth place, which is a far cry form a team that are perennial qualifiers to the Champions League. Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, will be hopeful to better their current record in the competition, which stands at two final appearances in the last three seasons.
Antoine Griezmann has been the subject to speculation of a big money move to England next summer but that news will continue to generate momentum as the campaign progresses but Diego Simeone’s first task is to ensure his lads qualify from the two-legged affair with some German machines.
Prediction: Leverkusen 0-1 Atletico
Manchester City vs AS Monaco (Etihad Stadium)
Manchester City has gone through some rough patches this season with Pep Guardiola feeling the heat of becoming a Premier League manager. With five league defeats this season, including the 4-0 mauling in the hands of Everton, their title challenge is fading but in Europe, they have a different challenge in the form of AS Monaco. The club from the Principality is currently leading Ligue 1 and in their captain, Radamel Falcao, they have a player reborn with 22 goals this season (16 in Ligue 1). Man City can take some solace in the fact that Falcao struggled in England but they will also have to contend with the threat of the wonderkid, Kylian Mbappe, fresh from a hat-trick against Metz last week.
The goals have been distributed evenly for City but with Sergio Aguero regaining his place following an unfortunate injury for new hotshot, Gabriel Jesus, the Argentine forward would want to prove himself to his boss by banging a couple past the French outfit.
Prediction: Man City 2-1 Monaco
Real Madrid vs Napoli (Estadio Santiago Bernabeu)
Real Madrid are on the ascendancy in La Liga, battling hard with their arch rivals, Barcelona, at the top of the La Liga table but they have to be weary of Napoli that are currently third in Serie A. Gonzalo Higuain’s departure caused a huge void in attack and it seemed to have been curtailed with the arrival of Arkadiusz Milik, but his long term injury affect the Italian club, even though Dries Martens and club captain, Marek Hamsik, have been coming up with the goods with 31 goals between them. Both players scored hat-tricks in the recent 7-1 demolition of Bologna but they will have to be mindful of the fact that Real Madrid houses the world’s best player and one of the finest attackers of his generation, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo scored only two goals in the group stages and Madrid ended up with a second placed finish, but they would be happy to have been paired with Napoli. The Italians are good on their day, but the class and quality of Los Merengues will shine through on the night
Prediction: Madrid 3-1 Napoli
Sevilla CF vs Leicester City (Estadio Sanchez Ramon Pizjuan)
Leicester City comes into this game in the worst of forms and I can’t see anything more than a resounding Sevilla home victory. In their last seven Premier League games, Claudio Ranieri’s side has drawn one and lost six consecutive games, and to add to their woes, Leicester has failed to score a league goal in 2017. Last season, Jamie Vardy scored 24 and Riyad Mahrez scored 17 as the Foxes upset all odds to win their maiden League title. Their defense of the crown has been shambolic, and even though they managed to hold unto Vardy and Mahrez last summer, both players have scored only eight goals in the league (Vardy five, Mahrez three).
Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yadder and Luciano Vietto have been banging in the goals regularly and in former Gunner, Samir Nasri, they have a potent creative force tha has managed to get on the scoring act himself.
Prediction: Sevilla 3-0 Leicester
FC Porto vs Juventus (Estadio Dragao)
FC Porto have been chasing SL Benfica in their league and are currently on a five game winning streak but they are set to lock horns with the undisputed kings of Italian football, Juventus. The Old Lady paid over the top to secure the services of striking sensation, Gonzalo Higuain, from Napoli and he has fired 21 goals for his new team, with three coming in the Champions League.
Juventus remain one of the unbeaten sides in the competition and I expect this to remain when they take on Porto.
Prediction: Porto 1-2 Juventus
Bayern Munich vs Arsenal (Allianz Arena)
As an Arsenal fan, it has become quite frustrating being paired against Bayern Munich. In the last six games with the Bavarians, Arsenal has always finished second best and that 5-1 drubbing in the Gunners last’ meeting in Bavaria. The Gunners will also have to bear in mind that Bayern creates the most chances (14) almost every game week with the likes of Thiago Alcantara, Thomas Mueller and co.
The Gunners are going through a shaky spell at the moment with one win in three but this would be one hell of a challenge for the Gunners to come out from this game with anything. Maybe the odd away goal.
Prediction: Bayern 2-1 Arsenal.
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