The Champions League Round of 16 is nearly upon us, and there are plenty of fascinating matchups to be excited about.
In fact, there’s a great deal of quality among the 16 remaining clubs, and it looks as if we’ll largely see traditional top teams battling it out for Champions League glory. In this piece though, we’ll zero in on the English teams left in the running and assess their respective places in the field.
First up is the defending champion Liverpool, which is in the midst of one of the best stretches in its history. Indeed, the Reds are in a fascinating position, in that they’re prohibitive betting favourites to capture the 2019-20 Premier League title – which, in many seasons, would lead people to believe that they’d take it easier in Champions League play in order not to blow the domestic title. But in this case, Liverpool might just have such a big lead back home in England that it will be able to put a full effort toward a repeat Champions League title.
Liverpool has a very difficult matchup against Atlético Madrid to start the knock-outs, but should still be favoured for a deep run.
It’s possible, then, that City could continue to pour its efforts into catching up in the EPL. However, if the bookmakers are giving City a sliver of a chance in the Premier League, it’s important to note that some of them are citing the Manchester club as the betting favourite in the Champions League. This appears to be based on two things: the EPL situation that will more likely lead to City turning its attention to the Champions League, and the pure quality of the club.
Like Liverpool, Man City has a tough draw and will need to beat Real Madrid to advance. But it still looks the part of a contender.
In a vacuum, it would be fair to say that Tottenham hasn’t had the most impressive of seasons, particularly when matched up against some of the juggernauts featured among these last 16. The Spurs allowed 14 goals in the group stage (admittedly, many came against a red-hot Bayern Munich attack), and has underperformed on the domestic front, currently sitting well beneath the threshold for qualification in the next Champions League. On top of all this, the Spurs will also be without striker Harry Kane until April.
Chelsea has been an interesting team to watch throughout this Premier League season, and while club supporters will always have their gripes, it’s fair to say that the team is on the right track under Frank Lampard. The Blues have essentially been within one goal, win or lose, of the top teams in the league throughout the 2019/20 campaign, which gives the impression that they’re right in the mix.
On the Champions League front though, a tough draw has left Chelsea as a clear underdog in the Round of 16. The club will meet Bayern Munich, which after a blistering performance in group play is now considered among the top contenders (even if the bookmakers largely favour Manchester City and Liverpool as outright winners). Still, with the first leg of that pairing taking place at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will have a chance to make a matchup of it.
There’s no telling, in the end, who will advance from this point forward. But there’s an awful lot of quality, and potentially some luck to be had between these clubs. We can be fairly certain that at least some of the English teams will be heard from into the end stages of the Champions League.
Collaborative Post (Trisha Williams)