On the morning of December 16th, in Nyon, Switzerland, we had the draw of the Champions League’s Round of 16. One of the biggest highlights was the match-up between Zidane’s Real Madrid and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Guardiola vs Zidane: The clash between champions
This was, in my opinion, the biggest clash defined on this draw. On one side, Manchester City, that rose in terms of status with the arrival of Guardiola, having on the Spanish manager one of the biggest winners in their history.
Guardiola won the Champions League twice ahead of Barcelona, however, he still needs to give this unprecedented title to Manchester City. Guardiola, although he has been sovereign in the Bundesliga managing Bayern, also failed to win this title in Germany.
Zidane has recently won the Champions League 3 times with Real Madrid. He then resigned from the merengue club, returned, but hasn’t been able to find the same success since.
If Guardiola lacks Messi to conquer Europe again, for Zidane Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus was an irrecoverable loss.
Liverpool start their title defence against Atlético de Madrid
Although the Champions League is the biggest desire of any European club, this season it looks like the Premier League is more important for Liverpool.
Of course that they won’t put aside the continental competition, but their efforts are focused on the Premier League.
Klopp’s team advanced in 1st place and they have been having interesting consistency this season, although they don’t have the same intensity on some matches, especially on defence, as they had last season.
Simeone’s Atlético is looking for the title after stumbling on the final 2 times against their rivals Real Madrid.
They don’t have a very powerful team, although they do have some good individual pieces. They stand out for their strong collective, but they are surely at a disadvantage on this encounter.
Dortmund will try to disassemble Neymar’s PSG
The logic of this encounter is a very large favouritism for the French side.
Although Dortmund is very intense, with a typical German style, looking for quick transitions and a more vertical squad, they’ve shown that they don’t have a solid defence.
They are a team that struggles a lot even against the smaller teams in Germany and on the big matches, they don’t impose themselves.
— Krisdepaname 😷 (@krisdepaname) December 16, 2019
During several seasons, they were living under the shadow of Bayern and I don’t believe they have switched levels.
PSG did, at least that’s what it seems like, manage to recover Neymar. Since he returned from injury, the Brazilian attacker has been leading the attacking front of the Parisian side.
Playing more centralized, with Mbappé, Di Maria and Icardi, and counting with the return of Cavani, they come into this encounter looking very strong.
Bayern decide at home against Chelsea
Bayern already faced an English opponent on this edition of the Champions League. Although they are oscillating a lot in the Bundesliga, they are looking dominant on their matches in this European competition.
They’ve demolished Tottenham on the 2 hardest matches of the group, even getting a 6-2 victory away from home.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) December 16, 2019
Chelsea aren’t the same as they were in previous seasons. They have a very young squad, led by a manager that was a great player but that still hasn’t consolidated himself as a leader.
It is undeniable that he has potential to grow, but right now he still has a long way to go.
Barcelona have Napoli on their path
Barcelona have always been coming in as favourites on their decisions during the past couple of seasons, but they always end up failing. The good news is that they generally advance without any major difficulties through this round of 16.
They maintain a very qualified team, although they are a powerhouse that depends on a genius to do well.
They are a great team, led by an outstanding player, but they have been going through some ups and downs so far this season, inclusively showing clear creation difficulties.
MESSI!!!!!! That is now the 9th time the G.O.A.T has scored 50 goals in a calendar year! 🔥
— OTRO (@OTRO) December 21, 2019
They are obviously a qualified team, with intensity, especially in terms of marking, and a good offensive transition.
But the Italian side fired their manager Carlo Ancelotti, after the 4-0 victory on the last round of the group stage. They have become a big question mark now and they should feel the effect of that on this clash.
Juventus and Tottenham favoured against their opponents?
Juventus will decide their fate at home against Lyon. Cristiano Ronaldo’s team is strong, coming out of the group stage unbeaten. However, it is undeniable that the team’s displays weren’t brilliant.
They are strong collectively, they defend with intensity but they don’t create a lot of goalscoring chances.
Cristiano Ronaldo depends heavily on the volume of the team and he no longer has the same amount of opportunities to decide like he had at Real.
Still, I believe they’ve gotten lucky in this draw, because Lyon are also very inconsistent, having one or two pieces that can make the difference, with Depay standing out.
— Juventusfc Haiti (@juventusht) December 16, 2019
However, collectively, they are worse than the Italian side and the fact that this encounter will be decided in Turin should mean it will be even more unbalanced.
A side that wasn’t so lucky was Tottenham. The team that made a big leap in terms of quality after the arrival of José Mourinho will face Leipzig, with the decision being made in Germany.
These are two intense teams, with a very interesting offensive sector. This should be a transition match, from both sides, due to the characteristics of the players that play in the wings.
Tottenham have proven they’re very inferior when facing Bayern but the encounter against Leipzig should be more balanced and I believe that the home advantage should be determinant for both teams.
Valencia and Atalanta were the biggest winners of this draw
The closest clash of this round of 16 will be between Valencia and Atalanta. Although it is a balanced clash, between two oscillating teams, but with some collective quality, they’ve managed to dodge the giants of this competition.
They both struggled during the group stage, only managing to advance on the final round, when they’ve beaten Ajax and Shakhtar away from home. They’ve earned this spot, and fate decided that they would face off on the closest encounter of this stage.
Round of 16 set! 🤯
Now we wait 64 more days… #liverpool #liverpoolfc #atleticomadrid #realmadrid #napoli #barca #fcbarca #fcbarcelona #atleticodemadrid #chelsea #cfc #chelseafc #bayernmunich #bayern #juventus #dortmund #psg #psgjordan #madrid #championsleague #atalanta pic.twitter.com/ZtDoOLL7qk
— Box to Box Radio (@boxtobox_radio) December 16, 2019
If I could pick a favourite, I’d say that Valencia is ahead by 55-45.
They are a bit more intense, especially in terms of marking, and the decision will take place in Spain.
But it is satisfying to know that at least one of these two clubs will be in the quarterfinals, after outdoing themselves during the group stage.
The first matches will be played between January 18th and 26th while the 2nd legs will be played between March 10th and 18th.
Until then, a lot of things will happen in Europe, and everything can change. We will bring you every news as well as analysis of big matches. Keep following us here on InsideBet!