The draw for the last sixteen of the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League has been made
Last-16 ties drawn were as follows
Juventus v Tottenham;
Basel v Manchester City;
Porto v Liverpool;
Sevilla v Manchester United;
Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain;
Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma;
Chelsea v Barcelona;
Bayern Munich v Besiktas.
Manchester City are favourites for the title,and their price fell from 9/2 to 3/1 on the news with a favourable draw and with Real and PSG drawn together guaranteeing one of the big guns will fall at this stage.
This could be the season when Premier League clubs, four of whom topped their group, break a run of five years without a Champions League title, provided they master the backlog of fixtures that builds up in the spring.
Chelsea will face Barcelona in what, among the top flight’s five representatives, is the stand-out tie of this year’s round of 16. If Conte seeks an omen he might take note that the last time the clubs met coincided with the most recent English winner, Chelsea coming through a tense last-four clash in 2012 before beating Bayern Munich in the final. Chelsea will be hoping their back 5 can return to their form of last season, otherwise they’ll be at the mercy of Messi, Suarez & the returning Ousmane Dembele. Morata & Hazard will always give them a chance of catching Barca cold on the counter,much like PSG+Juve did last season
Chelsea were, in fact, the only English team to occupy a group runners-up spot and most of their peers were accordingly granted ties that look less complicated. The exception was Spurs, whose hard work in disposing of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund was rewarded with a tough tie against the 2016-17 runners-up Juventus. Juve not looked as strong as team who reached final last year.Offensively still sharp (Serie A top scorers) but losing Bonnucci has meant their defence isn’t as impenetrable as it was.Dismantled 3-0 at the Nou Camp+ only the 4th best defensive record in Serie A.
Manchester City will be overwhelming favourites to defeat Basel. Basel lost 3-0 at Old Trafford & looked a very weak side. But they then beat United 1-0 at home with a combination of poor United attacking play and resolute Basel defending. They showed an ability to frustrate with their back 5 and 2 DMs.
United themselves will not be disappointed that Sevilla, who finished behind Liverpool in Group E, lie in wait, although former City players Nolito and Jesús Navas are capable of providing a sting in the tail. Sevilla showed vs Liverpool that they’re a quality attacking side.Variety of threats with the likes of Correa, Banega & Ben Yedder in good form.But defenders like Mercado, Lenglet & Escudero are average & United should bag plenty of goals to progress
Jürgen Klopp was pleased that Liverpool, dealt a tricky assignment against a Porto side who are capable of testing them defensively, will face the Portuguese leaders away from home first. Porto should not be under-estimated. They destroyed last season’s semi-finalists Monaco 3-0 & 5-2. Vincent Aboubakar has 17 goals in 21 appearances and will fancy his chances against Dejan Lovren. Moussa Marega & Yacine Brahimi are also major threats out wide
The most high-profile tie of the round fell outside the Premier League sphere. Two of the tournament favourites, Paris Saint-Germain and the holders Real Madrid, must go head-to-head and the price of elimination will be high. under-pressure PSG coach, Unai Emery, might have hoped for a smoother path to the latter stages than this.
Manchester City 3/1
Bayern uncih 5/1
Real Madrid 8/1
Manchester United 14/1