By Far The Greatest Team

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Champions League

Champions League Draw: Holders Real face PSG while Spurs paired with Juventus and Chelsea take on Barca

Juventus v Tottenham Hotspur

13 February, 7 March

Spurs were rewarded for finishing top of a group with Dortmund and Real Madrid with a tie against Italian champions Juventus. Although currently struggling in Serie A, lying in third, Juventus have history of success in the competition, making it to the final last campaign. While Juventus may be back to full steam come February (and March), Tottenham have settled into Wembley now and have a knack for producing in big games. However Spurs might face a problem with the winter fixture congestion in the Premier League and their relative lack of quality in depth.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur

Basel v Manchester City

13 February, 7 March

Recently defeated Manchester United had sent a preemptive reminder to the noisy neighbours as an away defeat in Basel was the sole red mark on their record. Despite this, it would take a shambolic collapse by City to allow Basel to bypass them to the quarter-finals. Considering how thoroughly City have outplayed teams, the question on the mind of the tunnel club fans – and the players coming out of the tunnel – will most likely be how they will win, not if. That may well prove to be their Achilles heel.

Prediction: Manchester City

FC Porto v Liverpool

14 February, 6 March

In what might be the most explosive tie of this round, Liga NOS leaders Porto take on Liverpool. Neither of the teams made it through their respective groups in the most cogent fashion, with Liverpool caving to draws to Sevilla as Porto faltered through the group with the least quality. Porto conceded ten goals in their group stage, so this is seemingly a prime opportunity for Liverpool to smash some in. Nonetheless, while Liverpool are capable of carving a defence apart, they do not take their chances in a clinical fashion, and it has proven hard to overlook their own forgiving defence.

Prediction: FC Porto

Sevilla v Manchester United

21 February, 13 March

The last two Europa League winners meet in the round of 16, with United as the clear favourites coming into it. Other than a pair of fightbacks against Liverpool, their season had been rather under the radar until receiving a 5-0 thrashing from Champions League holders Real Madrid. With Sevilla having issues left, right, and center, it seems hard to dream of a scenario in which Manchester United do not progress.

Prediction: Manchester United

Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain

14 February, 6 March

It’s the big one. An early Christmas for UEFA and BT Sport as PSG and holders Real Madrid face each other in what must surely be one of the most expensive matches of all time. Neymar and co. were bought precisely for this reason, to cut through European elites on the way to a championship. Real Madrid have not found it easy this year, finishing behind Spurs in their group and well off the pace in La Liga, although they have shown signs they are hitting full stride as of late. PSG’s campaign was proceeding swimmingly until losses to Bayern and Ligue 1 minnows Strasbourg. Neutrals will surely be hoping for a PSG win, to end any chance of a third straight UCL win for Los Blancos.

Prediction: Paris Saint-Germain

Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma

21 February, 13 March

This is probably the hardest tie to call, and definitely will be that many will skip on. It has the potential to be an entertaining match, as Shakhtar produced fine displays against Man City and Roma outplayed Chelsea, finishing top of their group. While Eusebio di Francesco’s side have been improving gradually, Shakhtar have the quality to match, or better, Roma.

Prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk

Chelsea v Barcelona

20 February, 14 March

This pairing of teams has produced some real classics in the past. From Iniesta’s stunner to Fernando Torres sending Chelsea into the final, there’s no shortage of great games between the two sides. Two similar teams as both have failed to convince – even while top of the league, in Barcelona’s case – and not had the best performances in their groups. Chelsea finished behind Roma and Barcelona ambled through to a top spot in their group.

Prediction: Barcelona

Bayern Munich v Besiktas

20 February, 14 March

There may be “no easy games” in the Champions League, but it can’t get much easier for Jupp Heynckes and his men as they’ll #GoToBesiktas and take on the Group G winners. Besiktas are fourth in the Super Lig and undoubtedly lack the quality to take on Bayern, bar an epic implosion by the Bavarians.

Prediction: Bayern Munich

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