Champions League Last 16 Preview: Spanish Test For English Teams

Manchester United and Chelsea’s Champions League campaign hangs in the balance, as they look to avoid replicating Tottenham’s disappointing exit against Juventus at Wembley last week.

With powerhouses Manchester City, Liverpool, Juventus, and Real Madrid already booking their places in the quarter-finals, JD Sports looks at the teams battling it out to join them.

Manchester United (0) v (0) Sevilla – David De Gea was on fine form when the two sides met in his homeland in the first-leg, but with no away goals scored, the Spanish number one could be integral to United’s chances of progression.  Fourteen years ago this week, Jose Mourinho’s FC Porto side benefitted from a Tim Howard fumble, which allowed Costinha in for a decisive 90th minute goal.

Home victories against Liverpool and Chelsea will have given the Red Devils confidence.  However, Sevilla – who lost at home to Valencia 2-0 at the weekend – will be throwing all their eggs into the Champions League basket, and will be hoping to cause a major upset at the Theatre of Dreams.

Barcelona (1) v (1) Chelsea – The Blues’ anaemic performance in their 1-0 defeat away to Manchester City courted negativity from the British press, who accused Antonio Conte of “anti-football.”  Barcelona will be an even tougher test for the Italian’s side with a place in the Champions League quarter-finals at stake.

In the first-leg, Lionel Messi registered his first goal against Chelsea in nine appearances to cancel out Willian’s opener.  And although Chelsea are undefeated in four games at the Camp Nou, Barcelona have not lost at home since the 13 August 2017, when Real Madrid beat them in the Spanish Super Cup.  In addition, Messi was rested in the Catalan’s 2-0 away win against Malaga, as he welcomed his new born son into the world.

Roma (1) v (2) Shakhtar – The Stadio Olimpico will be more hopeful than expectant of a performance, when the Giallorossi take on the Ukrainians.  With six defeats in their last 14 games, Eusebio Di Francesco’s team will be hoping they have turned a corner following their recent 4-2 away win against Napoli.

Fred’s sublime free-kick separated the two teams in the first-leg, and this tie may well be settled by another piece of magic, with both sides capable of outdoing each other on their day.

Beşiktaş (0) v (5) Bayern Munich – Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski scored a brace each, and Kingsley Coman also registered, as the German giants put in a five star performance against Beşiktaş in the first-leg. As such, the second leg should be little more than a formality for the five-times champions of Europe.


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