After the usual seemingly never ending winter break, the Champions League has finally returned. We’ve already seen some great games in the last 16 first round, and it tends to only get better from that stage on.
I thought I would take this opportunity to give my predictions, both for the outcomes of the first knock-out round and the rest of the tournament. Right, here goes!
First knock out
Chelsea v PSG
Chelsea, as much as it hurts. If there’s one competition Mourinho knows how to win, it’s this one. The Blues beat PSG in 2014 and look better this season. PSG have been poor this campaign, playing less flamboyant football than last year and failing to claim the top of the league table.
Zlatan still hasn’t shown any sign of being decisive in Europe, either. And Cavani is shit. So I think we will struggle (woops, did I sound biased?). Anyway, I’ll say Chelsea.
Bayern v Shaktar
A good goal-less draw for the Ukrainian side in the first game, which means they can go through by drawing the second match provided they can score away goals.
Bayern are, as usual, top of the league in Germany, with a GD of +50 after 22 matches. They’re a great side, and I can’t see them not win at home. So Bayern.
Barca v Manchester City
Definitely Barcelona. The first leg score was very flattering for City. The Catalans should’ve been at least 3-0 up by half time at the Etihad, and were unlucky to miss a last minute penalty. City’s good spell only lasted about 10 mins before they got a man sent off.
Should Barca score at least once in the return leg (which let’s face it, they tend to at home), City will need to find the net 3 times to go through. We haven’t even seen the best of Messi and Neymar yet..
Dortmund v Juventus
Tricky one to call. Juventus won the ‘first half’ 2-1, but will have to travel to the Westfalenstadion and its lively 80,000 fans for the return. Dortmund got an away goal, but are behind and will undoubtedly be under dogs given how dreadful their league form has been this year
Having said that, many of their top players are now back from injury and it’s all uphill from them. I reckon they could actually turn it around in the second leg. Borussia.
Monaco v Arsenal
Still pissed off as I’m writing this. That was Arsenal’s worst performance of the season, poor defensively even to their standards and shockingly slow in passing the ball around. The injury list is pretty short at the moment too, so no excuse.
At 2-1 I would still fancy Arsenal to make it, but overturning 3 away goals is too much in my opinion. Monaco. Unbelievable..
Real Madrid v Schalke
Obviously Real. Madrid won 2-0 away in the first game, and to be honest you’d still fancy them going through had the score been the other way around. Zero contest.
Porto v Basel
I won’t pretend I’ve followed this one particularly closely. Having said that, Basel showed some good stuff in the group stages, finishing ahead of Liverpool.
But after conceding a 1-1 home draw in the first leg, I can see them get beaten in Portugal. Porto.
Atletico v Leverkusen
Good performance from Leverkusen. But they’re pretty average all in all this season, and I like Atletico so I’m going to call on them turning it around in the second leg.
So provided I get everything right (optimistic I know), the last 8 teams will be: Chelsea, Bayern, Barca,
Dortmund, Monaco, Real Madrid, Porto, Aletico.
Obviously whatever happens next will depend on a variety of parameters, including current form, injuries and most crucially who draws who. But I’ll give it a go! I’ve crossed out team I believe just don’t have the quality to go all the way. I can’t see any of those make the semis, unless they play each other.
I do fancy Real Madrid to win it again this year, because of their outrageous quality, form and because of a certain Portuguese forward. As for the second finalist? I call either Barca or Chelsea, because of the Mourinho factor.
Who do you fancy this year? Leave your predictions below!