The group stages have come to a close and now we know who will contest the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. The usual suspects will be there but there are one or two new faces as well.
The teams have been seeded into to two pots. Pot one containing the group winners and pot two containing the runners up. Teams from the same group or nation cannot be drawn together. Here are the teams in their respective pots:
- Atletico Madrid
- Real Madrid
- Borussia Dortmund
- Bayern Munich
- Bayer Leverkusen
- Manchester City
- Paris St Germain
- Schalke 04
- Shakhtar Donetsk
No matter what recently, Arsenal always seem to finish fourth in the Premier League. The same can also be said with their Champions League record as they always seem to be finishing group runners up.
They haven't reached the last eight since 2010. Since then they have been knocked out by Barcelona, AC Milan and Bayern Munich twice. They can again face the Bavarians but they'll be also looking to avoid the daunting prospects of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Arsene Wenger would feel Atletico Madrid is doable but they are another team you'd like to avoid. That leaves Porto and Monaco as they cannot face Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund.
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Manchester City are in a similar position. Two impressive wins over Bayern Munich and Roma helped them into the knockout phase. They will also be looking to avoid Real Madrid and Barcelona (who knocked them out last season). They cannot face Bayern Munich and Chelsea.
Interestingly, had City's group games v Bayern been in the knockout phase, City would have been knocked out on away goals. Pellegrini will believe his side have more than enough to beat the likes of Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, especially if Sergio Aguero is fully fit. We all have to agree they should be favourites against those sides. The away win at Roma proves City have what it takes against top sides. All will depend how their form is come February though.
Chelsea won their group convincingly and Mourinho's side are amongst the favourites. In truth there is no one in pot two who they will feel scared of. They are capable of beating all of them. The two tricky ties come from Juventus and Paris St Germain.
The Juventus stadium is one of the toughest places to go in Europe. Also PSG are unbeaten in the league so far. However Chelsea did knock them out of Europe before and they'll be confident they can do it again. It's worth giving Shakhtar and Bayer Leverkusen a mention. With Ukraine being especially tough place to go but again they should be no problem for Chelsea.
Elsewhere Barcelona and Real Madrid will probably be wanting to avoid Sergio Aguero and Manchester City as much as City are wanting to avoid them. Barcelona cannot draw Paris St Germain so they'll be wanting to avoid Juventus.
It's set to be another intriguing campaign in the knockout stages of the Champions League. We will have more of an idea of who will win Europe's elite competition when we find out who faces who on Monday.
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