Premier League teams left in Europe
With City and holders, Chelsea out, only two English clubs are left in the competition.
1. Manchester United – Real Madrid: It’s probably the best draw in the Round of 16. Both the teams fancy their chances of lifting the trophy, but only one will be progressing. Surely, it would be a mouth-watering clash, with loads of entertainment and sparks. Cristiano Ronaldo will be returning for the first time to Old Trafford after his high-profile move to the Spanish giants, although whether he will be booed or cheered remains to be seen. United are favourites in this fixture, given their fine domestic form and Madrid’s sloppy start to the defence of their La Liga title. But both teams are simply world-class, capable of beating the finest on a good day, making this tie quite unpredictable.
2. Arsenal – Bayern Munich: Arsenal have a very stiff task to progress to the quarterfinals – to beat the German giants. A very formidable side, Bayern Munich are currently on top of the Bundesliga, and can be a very dangerous side. It would take a lot of desire and quality from Arsenal to beat them. Bayern Munich historically do well in this competition and finished runners-up last season, losing to Chelsea in the final. If Arsenal did it pull off, Arsene Wenger would be expected to remain as the Gunners’ manager for the next season.
There are currently four English teams in Europa League, i.e., Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Newcastle.
1. Chelsea – Sparta Prague: It should be an easy fixture for Chelsea, and they’d be hoping to progress without any stumbling blocks this time. Already out of the Champions League, they don’t want to face any more humiliation after losing out on the Club World Cup as well. But Chelsea have been highly inconsistent this season, and the Czech side would be just relishing their chances.
2. Liverpool – Zenit St. Petersburg: A tough game for both sides and quite unpredictable. Zenit come into the competition after getting knocked out in the group stages of the CL, while Liverpool are improving under Brendan Rodgers. Would be a good watch!
3. Tottenham Hotspur – Lyon: Quite similar to the previous game, this is an unpredictable draw, with both sides equally capable of progressing.
4. Newcastle United – Metalist Kharkiv: Newcastle are favourites in this fixture as Metalist Kharkiv are an unknown quantity, but they have the capacity to surprise Alan Pardew’s men (he himself said so). Still, it would be a much easier task for the Ukrainian side if Demba Ba quit the Londoners in January transfer window.