Reflections on the 2013-2014 Champions League Draw

The Champions League draw has been conducted. (Photo taken from Uefa)

The Champions League draw has been conducted. (Photo taken from Uefa)

The Champions League draw has been conducted and two of the ties stand out in particular. Manchester City has been pitted against Barcelona, the formidable Catalan side. German giants Bayern Munich also play English league leader, Arsenal.

The complete list of fixtures in the rounds of 16 is as follows:

  • Manchester City v Barcelona
  • Arsenal v Bayern Munich
  • Olympiakos v Manchester United
  • Milan v Atlético Madrid
  • Bayer Leverkusen v Paris Saint-Germain
  • Galatasaray v Chelsea
  • Schalke 04 v Real Madrid
  • Zenit St Petersburg v Borussia Dortmund

Apart from the two ties mentioned above, the rest of the fixtures seem pretty straightforward – on paper at least. Though surprises can still take place as football is so unpredictable.

It is anyone’s guess as to who will emerge victorious in these two mouth-watering ties. But my thoughts are as follows.

Bayern Munich v Arsenal

This game is an exact repeat of last season’s round of 16 fixtures where Arsenal famously beat Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Allianz Arena cauldron but still narrowly lost – on away goals. For the brave Gunners, it was so near – yet so far.

Since then, Bayern Munich have had a change in coach, but somehow this does not seem to have impacted their ability to win. In fact, the German side are unbeaten in the Bundesliga and they have proven to be hugely formidable opponents so far, this season.

On the other hand though, Arsenal will be heartened by the fact that Bayern Munich lost their final group game to Manchester City. So this shows that Bayern Munich is certainly not invincible and they can definitely be beaten too

As well, it must be noted that Arsenal is a much better side than they were last season. Even though they may be currently having a minor blip this month, their defence is much stronger than last season when they faced the German champions – and beat them at their own turf. So this time round, Arsenal may just be a bit better than they were last time – and get in, at the German club’s expense. If Arsenal can win or even draw their first leg at the Emirates Stadium, they would definitely be high in belief and confidence.

Fortune may also favour Arsenal in this tie, because it is a known fact that no existing holder of the Champions League has successfully managed to defend the crown in the entire history of the competition. So perhaps this could be pointing towards an Arsenal victory, even though Bayern Munich may appear to be the stronger team.

Manchester City v Barcelona

This was the tie that Manchester City definitely did not want, but they have it, as a price for not topping their Champions League group. No doubt, they will have a tough time tackling Barcelona and coming face-to-face with the Catalan club’s free-flowing football and containing Lionel Messi, who should definitely be back from his hamstring injury – come February. But what is more, Manchester City will also have to deal with Brazilian striker Neymar, who has been outperforming himself now that Messi is currently away.

However, Manchester City are on a high after beating Bayern Munich in their final group game so this will give them some confidence on how to approach this tie. As well, Manchester City, the most expensive side in the Premier League, has some pretty good strikers themselves. There is Sergio Agüero and Álvaro Negredo who are both practically scoring goals for fun, especially when they are playing at the Etihad Stadium fortress. Their “rugby scores” in recent Premier League fixtures are evidence of this, for example, their massive 6-0 whipping of Tottenham Hotspur recently.

So once again, anything can happen in this fixture and either side has a good chance to win. This should be an entertaining fixture that could be decided by a single goal, or even through away goals, because of the sheer quality of both sides.

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