Manchester City v Barcelona

What a tie this is. Manchester City, fresh off a 6-3 hammering of league leaders Arsenal, seem to be unbeatable at home and are scoring goals for fun.

The 3-2 win at Bayern Munich was proof that City are ready to fire with the big boys in Europe this season.

The partnership of Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo is a threat to any team on their day and it will be no different here.

There are certain players that City have to keep fit however, such as captain Vincent Kompany, Aguero and Yaya Toure. If they do this, City have a real chance.

The only concern for City is their struggling away form, which has been evident in the league. It remains to be seen as to whether they will cope with Barca's fluent passing at the Camp Nou.

Although this seems like a very tough draw for Man City, Barcelona are certainly not the team that they were three or four years ago.

They have major problems at the back, with Gerard Pique proving to be inconsistent, Javier Mascherano not completely settling in to his new position at centre-back and Carlos Puyol turing 36 early next year.

Their reluctance to buy a centre-half in the summer is hard to understand and they clearly struggle with set-pieces.

Despite this, they boast players with outstanding quality such as the injured Lionel Messi, Neymar, Andres Iniesta, Pedro, Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez. Their attacking threat no doubt makes them one of the favourites to win the competition for the fifth time.

It's going to be an incredibly close match but City can feel that this is one they can certainly come through.

Key Players: 

Man City: Sergio Aguero

Barcelona: Lionel Messi

Prediction: Man City

Arsenal v Bayern Munich

Another fantastic match. Arsenal have been outstanding in the league this season, with their midfield proving to be one of the best in the world right now.

Aaron Ramsey's form has been so important for the Gunners and players like Ramsey and record summer signing Mesut Ozil need to stay fit if Arsenal are to get through this one.

We all know that Arsenal would always have attacking flair, but arguably their biggest positive so far has been the consistent performances of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the centre of defence.

As well as their attacking players, it is imperative that Arsenal keep these two fit for the long-term. The returns of Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski will no doubt prove a huge boost to the Gunners.

They will have full confidence that they can beat Bayern based on what happened last season, with Bayern only scraping through on away goals after Arsenal's impressive 2-0 win at the Alianz Arena.

One concern for Arsenal is one that has been raised many times throughout the season so far; can they keep Olivier Giroud fit?

He certainly looks to be tiring on the evidence of recent matches and Arsenal will perhaps look to January to try and bring in back up for the french striker, who has scored 10 goals this season.

Bayern are dominating the Bundesliga at the moment and look extremely likely to retain their crown yet again.

Their strength in depth is undoubtably stronger than any club and with attacking quality such as Frank Ribery, Mario Gotze, Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and new signing Thiago Alcantara to contend with, it will be an incredibly tough tie for Arsenal.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is the man that makes Bayern tick and his partnership with Javi Martinez looks stronger than ever.

Pep Guardiola seems to be settling in very well to life in Munich and his battle with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger will be an intriguing one.

Like Barca, Bayern do look vulnerable to mistakes at the back and Man City made this evident with their victory last week. One thing is for sure, this will be an unmissable clash.

Key Players: 

Arsenal: Mesut Ozil

Bayern: Bastian Schweinsteiger 

Prediciton: Bayern 

Galatasray v Chelsea

Galatasaray did superbly to pip Juventus to second spot in their group. The Türk Telekom Arena provides an intense, hostile atmosphere that has proven to be intimidating for many teams over the years.

With Roberto Mancini in charge, combined with players such a Didier Drogba (who returns to the Bridge), Wesley Sneijder, Burak Yilmaz and Felipe Melo, they will provide a serious threat to Chelsea, especially at home.

After winning their group, this is certainly a tie that Chelsea can be happy with.

Manager Jose Mourinho will need all of his European experience if he is to guide the Blues to a second Champions League triumph.

Their array of attacking flair is certainly their strength, with Eden Hazard, Oscar, Juan Mata, Willian, Ramires and the ever-present Frank Lampard providing the main goal-threat.

Yet there lies a problem for Chelsea, too much pressure is being put on the midfield due to the failures of striking trio Samuel Eto'o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba. This issue, combined with the baffling decision to loan out high-flying Romelu Lukaku, is one that Chelsea might well have to address in January.

A worrying sight for their Premier League and Champions League rivals is that despite not performing even close to their capabilities this season, the Blues are only two points behind league leaders Arsenal and have qualified from their Champions League group with relative ease.

They have developed a knack of grinding out results when they haven't played well and this could be key in this season's competition.

Key Players:

Galatasaray: Wesley Sneijder

Chelsea: Oscar

Prediction: Chelsea

Olympiakos v Manchester United

Perhaps unusual territory for Olympiakos, who qualified thanks to key wins against Anderlecht (home and away) and Benfica.

The Karaiskakis Stadium, like the Türk Telekom arena, provides a tough and hostile atmosphere which could make this tie tricky for United. In Konstantinos Mitroglou, the Greek champions have one of the hottest strikers in this year's competition and he scored a stunning hat-trick when they won 3-0 away at Anderlecht earlier this season. 

Man United's form has been inconsistent to say the least this season, but their Champions League form has provided optimism for their fans.

They sailed through in what was seen as a tricky group containing Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad and the Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk and there is no doubt that their performance of the season came in Leverkusen, who they thrashed 5-0.

However, United's problems in the league have grown and with two home league defeats in a row to Everton and Newcastle, pressure could be mounting on boss David Moyes.

It is clear that they are relying on Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie to score the bulk of the goals, which is always dangerous.

January could be vital for them to bring in extra quality that they have been lacking. Despite their worries, you would expect United to go through, even if it does come with a few hiccups.

Key Players:

Olympiakos: Konstantinos Mitroglou

Man United: Wayne Rooney

Prediction: Man United

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Topics:
#Manchester City
#Manchester United
#Arsenal
#Chelsea
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