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Champions League round of 16: Preview and analysis

Photo Courtesy: sofascore.com
Photo Courtesy: sofascore.com

Now that the group stage of the Champions League is over, the competition gets more exciting as Europe’s best 16 clubs battle it out for a place in the quarterfinals.

English teams’ performances in the group stages

Manchester United became the only English team that failed to progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League this season, due to them finishing in third place behind Wolfsburg and PSV in Group B.

The Red Devils’ arch rivals Manchester City comfortably booked a place in the last sixteen of the competition after topping Group D, following four wins and two defeats.

Despite their despicable form in the EPL this season, Chelsea also managed to book a place in the last sixteen of the European competition as the toppers of Group G, following four wins, one win and one defeat.

Finally Arsenal also managed to sneak into the last sixteen as the runners up of Group F, despite them not being at the top of their game in the group stages.

Apart from Manchester United, Valencia (Group H) and Porto (Group G) were the other two teams to make unexpected exits from the group stages of the Champions League this season.

Round of Sixteen preview

While Manchester City have been drawn against a relatively easy opponent in the form of Dynamo Kyiv, Arsenal and Chelsea have not been that lucky, with the two London sides facing Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain respectively, in the round of sixteen.

The Gunners do not have pleasant memories against Barcelona in the Champions League, with Wenger’s side managing to only the Catalans only once during the two sides’ last five meetings.

The bitterest defeat would certainly be in 2005/06, when Gunners lost to Barcelona in the final. The odds of Arsenal beating Barcelona in the round of sixteen this season isn’t that good, as the Catalan based club have been in excellent form so far.

Chelsea, like Arsenal, also don’t have fond memories against PSG, who knocked the Blues out of the Champions League at the same stage last season.

Still, the Blues’ record against the French giants is a little better as Mourinho’s men were successfully able to beat PSG in the quarterfinals of the Champions League in 2013/14.

However, Chelsea’s chances of beating PSG this season are pretty slim, due to the English Champions’ dismal run of form this season.

Meanwhile, 2014 winners Real Madrid have been drawn against Serie A side Roma in the last sixteen of the competition. Although, the Los Blancos, who demolished Malmö FF 8-0 in their final group fixture, are certainly the favourites to progress to the quarters, Roma will be hoping to cause an upset.

2013 champions Bayern Munich, on the other hand, have been drawn against last season’s finalist Juventus. The German giants will definitely be the favourites to progress to the next round as the Old Lady have not been in the best of forms this season.

Wolfsburg, meanwhile, have a good chance of reaching the quarterfinals due to them being drawn against a comparatively easy opponent in the form of Gent.

Finally Atletico Madrid and Zenit Saint Petersburg will have to work hard in the round of sixteen of the Champions League this season, due to them being drawn against evenly matched opponents in the form of PSV and Benfica respectively.

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