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Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg Preview

The Champions!!!

The Champions League is back with the Round of 16 as 8 teams go head to head on Tuesday and Wednesday with the other 8 going head to head next week in their 1st leg fixtures. 

AS Roma vs. FC Porto

Roma finished 2nd in their group while FC Porto won their group having not lost a single game. Roma are 6th in Serie A having won 10 drawn 8 and lost 5 of their games. Porto are 1st in the Primeira Liga having won 16 drawn 3 and lost 2 of their fixtures. Roma did splendidly last season with their comeback win against Barcelona becoming one of the Champions League stories but this season has been tougher and they have been inconsistent. Porto have the quality to punish Roma and if they can hold on and control the scoreline for this game then they have the chance to qualify for the quarter finals. Roma need to win big at home to stand a chance. 

Man United vs. Paris Saint Germain

When the fixtures were announced in December Mourinho was still in charge and Neymar, and Cavani were still fit as it seemed that United would be in for a thrashing, that perspective has changed recently. United are 4th in the league having won 8 of their 9 recent league games and having not lost a game since the 16th of December. PSG are 1st in Ligue 1 10 points clear with 2 games in hand having lost only 1 game this season. United finished 2nd in their group while PSG finished 1st. United are in fine form with Rashford, Pogba, Martial, Lindelof and others among the players that have found a new lease of life. It’s not that Ole is a great manager but I think its the relief, freedom and coaching of Mike Phelan that has helped the most. PSG have been rampant but injuries to Neymar, and Cavani mean that they will be missing for the game and Mbappe will most likely be supported by Draxler and Di Maria, decent options but nowhere near as good as the prior ones. PSG need to put in a solid performance in this leg and seal it in the 2nd while United need to win this game. Ole’s biggest test until now and this should be a really good game. 

Tottenham vs. Borussia Dortmund

Tottenham are 3rd in the Premier League and have been inconsistent although they have managed to pick up form in recent weeks to remain only 5 points behind City and Liverpool. Dortmund are 1st in the Bundesliga having been rampant this season under Lucien Favre they remain 5 points ahead of Bayern. Tottenham finished 2nd in their group while Dortmund finished 1st. Tottenham go into this game without star men Kane, and Alli but Son is still in top four and him and Eriksen are carrying the team at the moment. Dortmund have class players like Reus, Gotze, Alcacer, Hakimi, and not to mention young british talent Jadon Sancho in their ranks and man to man they have enough to dump out Spurs from the Champions League. Tottenham will want to win the game as they are home but a draw would be enough as they will cling on to the hope that Kane and Alli are back for the 2nd leg. Dortmund need to stay solid in defence as they lack solidity but if they can get an away win it would make their life really easy for the 2nd leg. Similar to the United PSG game this game has entertainment written all over it although at the moment Dortmund are the better team.

Ajax vs. Real Madrid

Ajax are comfortably 2nd in the Eredivisie being 6 points behind PSV while Real Madrid are just moved into 2nd in La Liga having beaten Atletico at the weekend. Ajax finished 2nd in their group while Real Madrid finished 1st at a time where they were not playing particularly well. Ajax have good players in their ranks with the likes of De Jong, and De Ligt but Real Madrid are still at another level. The reigning champions started their season of poorly but are 6 points behind Barcelona at the moment and have picked up a decent amount of form. Solari has shunned the Galactico theme for a more youth driven policy with the likes of Vinicius, Reguilon, and Vasquez playing ahead of players like Bale, Marcelo, and Asensio. It is an away game and Solari will want to field a strong side to get the job done in the 1st leg itself. Ajax could make it tough but Real should progress into the quarters at the end of the 2nd leg. 

 

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