We are starting to get down to the nitty gritty of the Champions League, with only eight teams left standing to battle it out to see who will be this year’s champions of Europe.
I was 6/8 in my last 16 predictions, coming up short of the full house with my Chelsea and Juventus predictions. They were certainly the hardest games to predict, and although the end to the PSG-Chelsea game was anti-climactic, the Juve-Bayern game was the total opposite; going to extra time before the Bayern machine finally rolled them over. Which means essentially that the eight favourites have all went through to quarter finals!
Bayern Munich v Benfica
It’s amazing at this stage of the competition that we still have an absolute walkover type of tie. Benfica did well to get this far after overcoming Zenit in the last round, but they really were hoping for a draw against Wolfsburg in this stage, they got the opposite. Bayern struggled against Juventus, but Juve are far superior than Benfica.
There is no doubt in my mind that Bayern will and probably win very comfortably. Going forward I don’t think Bayern will win the competition, I think that they showed against Juve that they aren’t quite all there, and there are better teams in the competition than Juventus. If they draw the winner of PSG-City then they will probably make the final.
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid
The two teams who everyone was wanting to avoid at this stage of the competition, and the two teams who I believe have the best chance of winning the whole thing. Barca walked past Arsenal as per usual, whereas Atletico had to go to penalties against PSV. Struggling past PSV would make you think that Atletico wouldn’t have a hope in hell of getting through here, however it must be remembered that Atletico prefer to play against teams who are stronger.
You probably couldn’t pick a better time to play Barca, who are looking very weak after their defeat at the hands of Real Madrid. There is no doubting that Barca are great going forward but defensively they really are hopeless. The perfect team to come up against Barca is a team which can defend really well and take advantage on the counter with clinical finishing…sounds a lot like Atletico doesn’t it? The thing being that Atletico have lost their last six meetings with Barca.
This match is really set up beautifully; we have the best attacking side in Europe up against the best defensive side in Europe. Atletico match up perfectly against Barca but Barca have the much better record in the tie, it’s a perfect storm.
I’m going to go against the grain and say that Atletico will win this one, partially because I think that defensively they will stifle Barca’s front three and partially because of the fact that nobody has ever retained the Champions League. This is a great tie and could really go either way, very much looking forward to it.
Wolfsburg v Real Madrid
Another bit of a stinker to be honest, I’d be shocked if Real didn’t get through here. Wolfsburg have done well to get this far but the only reason they are here is because they drew Gent in the last round. Real must be praising some sort of pagan god for a draw of Roma followed by Wolfsburg.
I can’t see Real winning the entire competition, however if they get the favourable draw in the semis (PSG-City) then they could get to the final having played the weakest opponents available, and once you’re there anything can happen.
Paris Saint Germain v Manchester City
The second best tie of the round sees two of the biggest problems with football battle it out to see which corrupt oil rich owner gets to have the gloating rights in the gulf. Genuinely two of my least favourite teams on the planet because they represent everything which is wrong with football.
City got a walkover against Kiev and PSG snuck past a limp Chelsea to give us this tie. City quite frankly are shit just now and they are a terrible European team, PSG on the other hand are the most over rated team in Europe and have some of the most over rated players in the planet in their squad (Zlatan [spell check top recommendation was Satan…so not far off] is all I need to say).
I don’t overly care who goes through, because I dislike both teams, I imagine however that the winner will almost certainly be PSG because City have such a poor European record. It is actually a pretty close tie and will probably produce some good games, but this tie will also almost certainly produce the weakest semi-final team, the team that the other semi-finalists will very much want to draw.
So if you’re counting I have PSG, Real, Bayern and Atletico going through to the semi-finals, which on paper at least looks like a very good final four.