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The last 16 draws for Europe’s most prestigious club competition was held on December 12 with some amazing match-ups to look forward to in 2017.
Man. City (ENG) vs Monaco (FRA)
Manchester City are currently struggling for form as they have lost two consecutive premier league fixtures and by awful scorelines too. Chelsea beat them at home a forthnight ago 3-1 and last hammered them 4-2 at the King Power Stadium just last weekend.
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They are missing the goalscoring contributions of Argentine striker Sergio Aguero who is serving a four-match ban for his nasty tackle on Brazilian David Luiz in the defeat against the Blues. However, barring any injuries or suspensions he should be available for the tie against AS Monaco.
The France representatives are no pushovers as they knockout a premier league opposition in Arsenal two seasons ago and have found a way to resuscitate Radamel Falcao who flopped at his time in England with both Chelsea and Manchester United.
Verdict: Monaco will be eliminated by Manchester City
Real Madrid (ESP) vs Napoli (ITA)
The Los Blancos are the overwhelming favourites to retain their crown and become the first side to do so since UEFA changed to the new format.
The Zinedine Zidane side are not playing the best football in Europe at the moment but the Frenchman has instill great believe in the team and their resilience is outstanding coupled with the fact that they have newly crowned Ballon D’Or Cristiano Ronaldo in their Arsenal -the 11th-time champions can crush Napoli for a place in the last eight.
But Napoli will not be pushovers as they finished top of Group B ahead of Benfica, Besiktas and Dynamo Kiev. They also play as a unit and hard to breakdown.
Verdict: Real Madrid will see off Napoli
Benfica (POR) vs Dortmund (GER)
This is a mouth-watering fixture as both sides are evenly poised to give the fans a great brand of attacking football.
Dortmund showed their tenacity as they drew at the Santiago Bernabeu to finish top of Group F ahead of Real Madrid and they are currently on fine form but Benfica can give them a very good match.
Verdict: It will be close but Benfica will see the exit door against the flamboyant Dortmund.
Bayern (GER) vs Arsenal (ENG)
Perhaps, this is the tie with the biggest interest in the round of 16 as the German champions have eliminated Arsenal on three occasions in the past – 2005, 2013, and 2014.
However, Arsene Wenger’s men are very well equipped to withstand Bayern Munich this term, having lost just once in the premier league this season, finishing top of their UEFA Champions League group and have Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in the forms of their lives.
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The Bavarians have struggled a little this season as Carlo Ancelotti is still trying to get used to his squad which may just serve Arsenal well ahead of their game in February.
Verdict: Bayern Munich will make it four-time lucky against Arsenal
Porto (POR) vs Juventus (ITA)
Porto is not as strong as they used to be in the past and finished second in Group G to Champions League first-timers Leicester City and will be up against perhaps the best defensive side in the competition and the Old Lady is arguably an outside favourite to win the title.
Verdict: Porto will be ousted by Juventus.
Leverkusen (GER) vs Atlético (ESP)
Atlético finished ahead of Bayern Munich in Group D with five wins out of six games and their only defeat came against the Bavarians on the final day of the Match-Day-Six.
Leverkusen depends a lot of Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez for their goals and Diego Simeone’s men are experts of denying key men time and space while the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kevin Gameiro, and Fernando Torres are ready to punish the opponents at the other end of the pitch.
Verdict: A low scoring tie that will see Atletico Madrid qualify ahead of Bayer Leverkusen.
Paris (FRA) vs Barcelona (ESP)
Games between these two clubs have been very close in the past and it is expected that they will be close again. The quality of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez in the final third will be the magic in this fixture.
Verdict: Barcelona will go through at the expense of Paris Saint German
Sevilla (ESP) vs Leicester (ENG)
Leicester City were pummeled 5-0 in their final group match against FC Porto but they had already won Group G and rested a few of their first team players like current BBC African Footballer of the Year Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy but it doesn’t may the round of 16 games against the Spaniards any easier if they returned.
Sevilla are seasoned campaigners in European Cup competitions and rumours have it that UEFA had to allow winners of the Europa League qualify straight into the Champions League otherwise clubs like the Spanish side will win it 10-times in a roll.
Verdict: Sevilla will knock Leicester City out.
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