With the UEFA Champions League round of 16 fixtures having started yesterday, and a few of the ties delicately poised, The Videoscope team takes a look at the potential fortunes of the teams involved, and offers predictions ahead of kick-off this evening.
We’ll recap the matches that started yesterday, but there are still plenty of matches to predict. Specifically one particularly mouth-watering clash and a rematch for the ages! With so much excitement for the Champions League being back, we are predicting plenty of goals and exciting ties!
Champions League Round of 16:
FC Basel (0) Man City (4)
Ahead of the first leg, many believed that Man.City would have a tough game against Swiss giants FC Basel, given that earlier in the tournament the Swiss side had respectably finished 2nd in Group A and had a stellar home record.
Instead, the match was extremely one-sided, with İlkay Gündoğan scoring a nice header to make it 0 – 1 to City. The onslaught wasn’t over as Man City scored again thanks to a half-volley from Bernardo Silva and a cool finish from Sergio Agüero made it 0 – 3 in 23 minutes. To add on to Basel’s misery, İlkay Gündoğan was able to grab his second of the night in the 2nd half with a great finish to make it 0 – 4.
Juventus (2) Tottenham (2)
This is why we are so happy that Champions League football is back! What a game! There are so many moments that made this game an ultimate classic. It has to be noted that Juventus had only conceded one goal in 16 matches before this tie, but let’s kick this recap off.
It actually only took two minutes before we had our first goal, a brilliant free-kick routine set by dead-ball specialist, Miralem Pjanic, who set-up the perfect pass for Gonzalo Higuain who smashed it past Hugo Lloris to make it 1-0 to the Bianconeri. Only six minutes later, Federico Bernardeschi was clearly fouled and Gonzalo Higuain scores to make it 2-0 and everyone believed Juventus would go on to win it.
But Harry Kane had other ideas and was able to bring one back for Tottenham, going past Gigi Buffon and sliding the ball into the net.
Right at the brink of half time, Juventus got yet another clear penalty, and Higuain stepped up to try to seal his first Champions League hat-trick. Unfortunately for him, he smashed the penalty onto the crossbar, leaving the door open for Tottenham to get back in the game.
Christian Eriksen, who delivered a Man of the Match worthy performance, got a chance to work his magic in the 71st minute, as Giorgio Chiellini tripped Dele Alli for a free-kick just outside the box. One smartly placed low free-kick in Buffon’s corner later, the score was 2-2. Buffon probably should have saved it, but Eriksen deserved his goal after an all-around stellar performance.
Man City vs FC Basel
It’s simple, really. City were able to grab four away goals and are easily leading on aggregate and I’d say that City will only be so much better at home.
2nd leg Result: Man City (5) FC Basel (0)
Man City wins 9-0 on aggregate
Tottenham vs Juventus
This might come as a hot take. Most people would predict that Tottenham will be the ones to come out as the winners at Wembley, but I believe that Juventus could narrowly beat them, and my prediction will only come to fruition if… Paulo Dybala returns!
2nd leg Result: Tottenham (0) Juventus (1)
Juventus wins 3-2 on aggregate
FC Porto vs Liverpool
In a game that won’t be so popular due to it being over-shadowed by the Real Madrid – PSG match on the same day, it will be interesting to see what both teams have to offer. Neither team have much to lose, as their expectations certainly can’t be to win the tournament, considering the magnitude of teams that are left. Historically speaking, it should be noted that Liverpool have yet to lose to Porto in four attempts as they won both times at Anfield and drew both times at Estádio do Dragão. Though it should also be mentioned that the last time Porto hosted an English opponent (Leicester) they won 5 – 0, however it will take a lot of players playing superbly if they want to do that against Liverpool.
Going with the trend here we predict that tonight, it will finish as a draw, and a win awaits Liverpool at Anfield.
1st leg Result: Porto (1) Liverpool (1)
2nd leg Result: Liverpool (3) Porto (1)
Liverpool wins 4-2 on aggregate
PSG vs Real Madrid
Possibly the match everyone has been waiting for as there are some fantastic match ups such as Cristiano Ronaldo vs Neymar, Verratti vs Modric and between the managers, Zidane vs Emery. The match that everyone will get to see in the end will be nothing short of spectacular. I can’t wait. Both teams are coming in with red-hot form, despite Real Madrid’s abysmal La Liga situation. Cristiano Ronaldo recently scored a hat-trick and actually looks like the player who is the Champions League lead goalscorer this season. Neymar has been absolutely phenomenal despite being in a “lower” league, as he has 27 goals and 14 assists in 27 matches for PSG. Remarkable. Seeing two of the best players in the world duke it out will be remarkable.
This is a tough one to predict. PSG have the advantage of setting the tone if they grab an away win, but Real Madrid have shown that they have the ability to do well at home against big teams.
I’ll predict a tough win in both matches for PSG as they have shown that they are not only fearless, but they have so much talent in the squad that can help them overcome a difficult tie.
1st leg Result: Real Madrid (1) PSG (2)
2nd leg Result: PSG (2) Real Madrid (1)
PSG wins 4-2 on aggregate
Bayern Munich vs Besiktas
The games between Bayern Munich and Besiktas will not be tightly contested. I think Bayern Munich have way too much star-power to allow themselves to get complacent, and they will grab a convincing win, contrary to the whole narrative that Bayern’s European dominance is over. WRONG! They’ve only come back stronger than ever, thanks to the return of Jupp Heynckes.
Besiktas are no slouch, and I don’t mean to take anything away from them as they are currently unbeaten in the Champions League, but I feel that Bayern are just that much better.
Besiktas face a nearly impossible challenge trying to get a result from the Allianz Arena. Bayern Munich’s dominant home form ensure a win for them in the 1st leg and making the 2nd leg in a normally terrifying Vodaphone Arena a lot more comfortable.
1st leg Result: Bayern Munich (4) Besiktas (1)
2nd leg Result: Besiktas (1) Bayern Munich (1)
Bayern Munich wins 5-2 on aggregate
Chelsea vs Barcelona
This is the rematch for the ages! It’s been a while since these two giants have faced off in Champions League competition, but this is a tie that is always memorable. The last time they met, Fernando Torres dashed the hopes of every Barcelona fan who dreamt of a 2nd consecutive CL title, as he slammed the final nail in the coffin for a Barcelona team desperately looking for the goal to get them through. Chelsea went on to win their first Champions League title.
Back in 2009, Barcelona did get the goal they desperately wanted, when Andres Iniesta hammered home a shot outside the box right at the death. The game is mostly remembered for the plethora of controversial penalty decisions, mostly going against Chelsea.
Their battles in the mid-2000’s were also highly dramatic, filled with even more referee controversies, magical moments from Ronaldinho and once again an evenly contested tie, like the first encounter they had in the year 2000. Although Barcelona will be the heavy favorites this time, it’s not gonna come easy, but they’ll get through in the end.
1st leg Result: Chelsea (1) Barcelona (2)
2nd leg Result: Barcelona (1) Chelsea (0)
Barcelona wins 3-1 on aggregate
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma
Shakhtar and Roma have also met in the Champions League knockout stages before, in the round of 16 back in 2011. Shakhtar turned out to be winners of both legs after first having secured a tight 2-3 result in the away game at the Olimpico thanks to 2 goals from Luiz Adriano and then in the reverse fixture, comfortably handling the Italians by 3-0 at home.
This was at the height of Shakhtar’s dominance, with players such as Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Willian, Fernandinho, Douglas Costa and more at their disposal. They are not quite as talented this time around, but their star midfielder Fred is a wanted man at the moment, being rumoured to go to Manchester City, while the ever-present Darijo Srna is still with the team.
Roma on the other hand have a pretty settled team, posing as Serie A’s version of Arsenal. Always in the mix for a top 4 spot, but can’t quite get that elusive trophy. At least they are still in the Champions League.
I predict they will stay there, just edging their Ukrainian opponents, ending Shakhtar’s dream of playing in a CL final in their home country. I still predict that Shakhtar gets a win at home here though, but it ends up being just not a big enough margin.
1st leg Result: Shakhtar Donetsk (2) Roma (1)
2nd leg Result: Roma (3) Shakhtar Donetsk (1)
Roma wins 4-3 on aggregate
Sevilla vs Man Utd
This marks the first time these two teams will meet in the Champions League or even a competitive match for that matter. On paper, this is one of the more lopsided matchups this round, with Man Utd in 2nd place in the Premier League, while Sevilla are 6th in La Liga, 1 point above Eibar.
But Sevilla are not to be underestimated in European competition. Even though they narrowly lost out to Leicester last season, Sevilla won the Europa League the 3 previous years. Incidentally, the team that broke that streak and won the Europa League last season, was Manchester United.
Jose Mourinho will know how tough it is to win the Europa League, having almost been knocked out in the semi-finals against another Spanish team, Celta Vigo, who were one John Guidetti miss away from eliminating Man Utd. Mourinho will also know to not underestimate Sevilla and will field strong teams in both legs. After a hard-nosed draw in Seville, I predict Man Utd will pull through at home and win comfortably in the end.