I didn’t write a last 16 preview, I’ll say the reason for that was that I was super busy but it also may have been that I was being super lazy and had got out of the habit of writing, it’s certainly one of the two. Regardless of all that, here is a preview for the quarter finals of the Champions League.
Juventus v Real Madrid
The best tie of the round, the champions of Italy taking on the Champions of Spain and Europe, a rematch of last seasons final. Real for me were always going to go through against PSG (the most over rated team in the world) and once again a lacklustre Madrid side have shown up when it most matters. Real’s form is night and day from where it was at the start of the season and pretty much all of that can be attributed to Cristiano Ronaldo finding his form again.
In contrast to Real, I really didn’t see Juventus getting through against Spurs. The weird thing about that tie is that Spurs dominated Juve, however with around 15 minutes of magic over the two legs Juve managed to devastate Spurs and ultimately win through. Spurs were by far the better side, yet here we are with Juventus and it is very much to the advantage of Real.
Juve quite simply aren’t good enough to beat a Real team on form. Yes they can defend like their lives depend on it but in the end the experience and quality of Real’s finishing will give them the edge over a two legged tie and should see Real making another semi final, looking very dangerous in the process.
Sevilla v Bayern Munich
I’m not sure that anyone had Sevilla going through against Utd, however after what can only be described as an incredibly limp display from Utd. The thing about Sevilla is that they aren’t a bad team, however they didn’t get through their tie against Utd because they deserved it, they got through because Utd flat out didn’t show up. Sevilla were poor in both matches against Utd but won through despite themselves.
Bayern can’t really have asked for a much better draw than this, they pulled Besiktas in the last round and then drew Sevilla in this one, basically a free passage to the semis. Bayern have been shit hot since Heynckes came in, the best they’ve played since…well Heynckes won the Champions League. This is still probably the best squad in the world, they have an outstanding first eleven and have the ability to rest players for when it really matters. Bayern will easily beat Sevilla and if you’re asking me, they’re the most dangerous team left in the competition.
Barcelona v Roma
Barca easily dispatched a Chelsea team which has been very poor in 2018 and offered a very small test. Barca have had a solid year, have spent a ton of money and definitely look better without Neymar, however despite having said that it still feels like there’s a real vulnerability there. The team without Messi doesn’t look good enough, in theory that shouldn’t be a problem as you’d expect him to play in all these games, however in the event he were to get injured/suspended it will cause a new headache. When I say that I mean for their long term hopes of winning the competition, even without Messi they will easily get past Roma.
Roma are at this stage because they got a good draw in the last round, they’re completely out of their depth at this stage and won’t be progressing any further, Sevilla will give them hope but in reality that gap is bigger.
Liverpool v Man City
In the other best tie of the round we have an all English clash. The interesting thing about this tie is that you can look at the two games the teams have played this season and see what could happen in this one. City destroyed Liverpool in Manchester, however Liverpool were the better side up until the red card, in the other tie Liverpool won in a 4-3 thriller. It sets this tie up very nicely as the best team in England takes on a team which matches up very nicely against them. Both sides have bad defences and employ different styles of high press attacking football, so it certainly should make for a couple of good games.
Liverpool are the underdogs, City are clearly the better team and are more suited to doing well. The difficulty is more in the fact that both teams have city derbies in between these two ties. City in particular could win the league title against Utd, something which would mean about as much as a Champions League win to their fans, and I doubt that the game will be played in good spirits. That’s where the big question arises, will either of these two teams be willing to take the risk of resting key players in their respective derbies to give themselves a better chance of progressing? Liverpool risk their top four place and City lose the chance of a rare chance of winning the league title against their biggest rivals, as is the risks of winning.
Ultimately I’d be surprised if City didn’t go through, they’re the better side and are more suited for going far in the competition. It isn’t a given and I think it will be all to play for in the second leg, should be interesting.
So unexpectedly I have went for the four obvious winners of the ties. Real and City have by far the two most difficult ties, but Bayern and Barca will get through with little to no problem. It’s almost as if the draw fell perfectly to give the Champions League the most desirable semi finals…
What are your thoughts for the Champions League quarters? Will the four obvious teams progress? Where’s the upset? Were you impressed with my perfect last 16 picks which I definitely made and am not just saying that cause I didn’t do a preview? Well leave a comment and share those thoughts.