Next week kicks off the first round of the Champions League round 16, and I’m going to do my best to predict the winners and losers of each match.
PSG vs FC Barcelona
This match is one of the big two in the draw. With both teams dwelling in second in their respective leagues (disappointing for both of them), they’ll be looking to win this competition. PSG haven’t looked the same since Ibrahimovic left for Manchester United this summer and, without him, I just don’t see them causing Luis Enrique’s men enough problems, so I’m going to go for a win for Barcelona.
Benfica vs Dortmund
After a great group stage in which they topped the UCL group with Real Madrid, Dortmund drew Benfica. Benfica only scraped qualification, finishing one point above Besiktas. Even with Jonas, I don’t see Benfica getting out of this. I think the quality of Aubameyang and Reus up front, as well as the quality of Bartra and so on at the back, will pull through. I’m predicting a Dortmund win.
Real Madrid vs Napoli
As I mentioned earlier, Madrid finished second in their group, while Napoli topped theirs. I can’t see this tie being anything other than a win for Zidane’s men, thanks to their quality all over the pitch. Even with Napoli’s trio of Mertens, Callejon and Insigne, they have to get past Real’s brick wall of a defence, and then not concede against Ronaldo (among others), which leads me to predict a win for Real Madrid.
Bayern Munich vs Arsenal
This is the other of the two big games, with these two having a recent history of playing each other in the Champions League (4 out of the last 5 seasons). After Chelsea’s thumping of Arsenal at the weekend, they’ll be out looking for blood but, unfortunately, I don’t think that’ll be enough to beat the current German champions. I think Bayern outmatch them in almost all, if not every, position on the pitch, and will be too much for Wenger’s men to handle. Due to this, I’m going with a Bayern win.