Champions League Draw: Are English Teams Making a Resurgence in Europe?
Last eight Champions League draw
With 4 English teams making it to the quarter finals of the Champions League, it seems that the competitive nature of the Premier League is being translated in the latter stages of this year’s tournament. The UEFA Champions League draw took place on the 15th March at 12:00 CET
Ajax vs Juventus
A most favourable outcome for Juventus as they overcame a 2-0 deficit against a capable Atletico Madrid, with Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick in their 3-0 win to advance! Juventus have a lot of European pedigree and having the likes of Ronaldo – arguably the best Champions league player ever – will certainly aid them in trying to win the competition they’ve so desperately wanted their hands on.
Ajax also came back from a deficit in their last 16 first leg clash with champions, Real Madrid. Ajax should have won this game, but for a controversial decision with help from VAR, they were beaten at home. Ajax stunned the football world, however, with an incredible 4-1 win at the Bernabeu, which took them through 5-3 on aggregate. Ajax are no stranger to the Champions League, having won the tournament 4 times in their club’s history – only Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have achieved this feat beside them.
Juventus will most likely be the favourites to win this tie, whether they will win comfortably will be another question though. Ajax are definitely the underdogs with their young squad. With Ronaldo on their side, Juventus will fancy their chances against any team. This could possibly be Ronaldo’s 4th Champions League in a row.
Liverpool vs FC Porto
Liverpool beat Bayern Munich 3-1 at the Allianz arena. Sadio Mane and Virgil Van Dijk put on stellar performances, with Mane taking his first goal wonderfully. Liverpool’s Salah had admitted that if they lost the tie to focus on the Premier League, then it wouldn’t be the end of the world but it looks like they can do both now.
Porto played Roma and their game was the only one to go to extra time. They narrowly won 4-3 on aggregate from an extra time penalty scored by Alex Telles. Roma were the better side in the first leg, winning 2-1 but Porto managed to pull off the win at home to go through
Liverpool will be comfortable against Porto and their place in the semi finals is probably quite certain, especially with Liverpool’s amazing record at the fortress that is Anfield.
Tottenham Hotspurs vs Manchester City
Manchester City beat Schalke 10-2 on aggregate, even with going down to 10 men in the first leg and only winning 3-2, by the help of a last minute Raheem Sterling winner. Pep Guardiola’s side are also favourites in this draw as they go for the quadruple, however Pep hasn’t won the Champions League since his Barcelona days and whether this City team will be able to face up to the big stage pressure is still in question.
Tottenham faced Borussia Dortmund in their last 16 tie and were in control across the first and second leg, winning 4-0 on aggregate. Harry Kane and Jan Vertonghen put on a dominant performance over the two matches, with both of them scoring goals.
Tottenham will be facing city three times in the span of 11 days, two of those matches being played at the Etihad, a tough place to visit. This will take a Herculean effort for Pochettino’s side to pull off a win against an in form Manchester City side.
Barcelona vs Manchester United
Barcelona are a side always pitted as favourites and this year is no exception. Initially drawing 0-0 to Lyon in the first leg ,they managed to win 4-1 in the second leg with a great performance by Messi scoring two goals and providing two assists. Messi has the most goals and assists in Europe this season and the most goals in the Champions League, not bad for a player voted 5th in the Ballon d’Or ranking.
Manchester United vs Barcelona is always a thriller. The last time Messi played at Old Trafford, United still had the likes of Scholes and Rooney, those days are long gone unfortunately. Manchester United fans will be confident in being able to handle Barcelona after their win against PSG, but Barcelona know what it takes to win. More than that, United fans should not forget Messi’s standout performance against them in the 2009 Champions League final which saw Barcelona win 2-0. Overall if United turn up to their best then this tie will be the most exciting draw of the lot.
Overall the English revival in the Champions League is an important testament that the Premier League is a competitive league that produces teams that are capable of challenging against and beating heavyweight teams across Europe.
Keep up with TCS Network Sports to get all the highlights over the next few weeks.