UEFA Champions League – Last 16 Draw in Focus
The draw has been made for the last 16 of this season’s Champions League and it has brought together some old adversaries.
REIGNING CHAMPIONS TAKE ON ARSENAL
Defending champions (and still favourites on the best football betting sites) Barcelona, will face Arsenal in the round of 16 as Luis Enrique’s team aim to become the first in the Champions League era to retain the trophy. The two sides met each other at the same stage of the tournament in 2011, with the Catalan side running out 4-3 aggregate winners. A Messi inspired Barcelona went on to lift the trophy at Wembley, beating Manchester United 3-1 in the final. The season prior to this, the two went head to head in the quarter-finals and once again, it was Barcelona who advanced at the expense ofArsène Wenger’s side.
*Current Tournament Odds –Arsenal 41.00 Barcelona 3.50
GUARDIOLA FACES TRICKY TASK AGAINST TURIN GIANTS
Bayern Munich will play Juventus in the round of the last 16. The two sides met back in the quarter-final of 2013, which the Bavarian side won before going onto lift the trophy (also at Wembley) in May. The two also met in the group stages of the 2004, 2005 and 2009 tournaments. Their overall record against each other is played eight,Bayern having four wins to the three of Juventus with one match finishing all-square.
*Current Tournament Odds –Juventus 34.00 Bayern Munich 3.75
PSG MAKE QUICK RETURN TO STAMFORD BRIDGE
In a repeat of last season’s round of 16 clash, French champions Paris Saint-Germain (strongly fancied on the best online sports betting sites to possibly be this season’s dark horses), will once again face Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. The Parisians went through 12 months ago in dramatic style after a Thiago Silva header, six minutes from the end of extra-time, booked them a place in the quarter-final where they were comfortably beaten by eventual winners Barcelona. The London club will be out for revenge this time around.
*Current Tournament Odds – PSG 15.00 Chelsea 21.00
REAL MADRID HAPPY, BUT WARY OF ROMA TEST
Rafael Benitez will be a happy man after his Real Madrid side drew Roma in the last 16 draw today. One thing he will be wary of however, is the last time the two met in the competition back in 2008 at the same stage, it was the Italian side that progressed 4-2 on aggregate. Prior to that, in 2004, Los Blancos won both group games handsomely against the side from the Italian capital.
*Current Tournament Odds –Roma 101.00 Real Madrid 6.00
THE BEST OF THE REST
Manchester City, who qualified top of their group for the first time last week, have been rewarded with a double header against rank outsiders Dynamo Kiev; A draw that will please coach Manuel Pellegrini. Benfica, who last won the competition way back in 1962, have been paired with Russian side Zenit St Petersburg. PSV Eindhoven, who surprisingly pipped Manchester United to a qualification spot, will face a difficult test against the 2014 runners-up Atletico Madrid. Finally, another of the tournament long shots, Gent, have been drawn against German opposition in the shape of Wolfsburg.
*Current Tournament Odds – Manchester City 11.00, Dynamo Kiev 501.00, Benfica 101.00, Zenit, 67.00, PSV Eindhoven 201.00, Atletico Madrid 13.00, Gent 201.00 Wolfsburg 51.00
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)