Mixed emotions for English clubs after Champions League draw
Lee Gormley | December 14, 2015
Arsenal and Chelsea face tough last 16 ties
The recent Champions League last 16 draw will have got Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho thinking ‘not again’, as their Arsenal and Chelsea sides were drawn against European rivals Barcelona and PSG respectively once more, while Manchester City will face Dynamo Kiev.
Barça beat Arsenal in the quarter-finals in 2009/10 and in 2010/11 as well as beating them in the final in 2006 pic.twitter.com/qLNxhghNpl
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 14, 2015
Wenger’s Gunners are currently flying high in the Premier League alongside Manchester City and surprise package Leicester City, but their European pedigree will be tested to the limit in the knockout stage as they face Barcelona, 12/5 favourites with Coral.
Arsenal gunning for overturn in Barca fortunes
The Londoners managed to recover what looked like a bleak group stage for them, narrowly reviving hopes with a decisive away victory over Olympiakos in their final game to reach the last 16, but the reigning champions await them, again.
Arsenal’s fixture history against the Catalan giants doesn’t make encouraging reading, having won just one of their seven Champions League meetings with the defending treble champions and, with Barca in typically rampant form of late, that hapless streak could easily continue.
— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) December 14, 2015
Apart from several underwhelming stalemates in previous weeks, Luis Enrique’s Spanish champions have been well on course for a second successive La Liga coup, and retaining the Copa del Rey grows closer too, following a recent 6-1 thrashing of Villanovense.
If the Gunners are to overcome Barcelona for only the second time in Europe’s elite club competition, they will have to thwart seemingly unstoppable South American attacking trio Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, who have an amazing 46 goals between them so far this term.
With such a disheartening draw for the Gunners, they are 33/1 to go all the way this season, as Wenger seeks to clinch the one trophy that has so far eluded him in his 19-year reign.
Chelsea contest constant foes PSG in last 16
Under-pressure Chelsea boss Mourinho will be sick of the sight of French champions PSG, with the Blues having now been drawn against them in the knockout stage for three consecutive Champions League campaigns.
— PSG English (@PSG_English) December 14, 2015
Although, Mourinho has lost only one match against PSG as manager of the Blues, an encouraging boost considering his side’s domestic falterings this term, but last season the French side won their dramatic tie on away goals.
The stuttering top-flight champions are 16/1 to taste European success, with Coral also offering 5/1 on any Premier League team winning the competition next year, but they face a tough task against one of the continent’s in-form sides.
PSG were boosted by the arrival of Angel Di Maria last summer, as well as German stopper Kevin Trapp and Layvin Kurzawa, and Laurent Blanc’s capital club have stormed to a 15-point lead atop of Ligue 1, going unbeaten domestically to date.
Love The Champions League draw. Great tie for City but nightmare ties for Arsenal and Chelsea. https://t.co/fK68Phi9lC
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) December 14, 2015
In fact, their only defeat this season was a narrow 1-0 loss to Real Madrid in Europe but, with a fourth successive French title seemingly assured, they will be going all out for a crowning Champions League glory (16/1). But Mourinho will be targeting competition success as his side’s pathway back into European action next season, making for another intriguing tie.
Man City ambitions boosted by favourable Kiev draw
Of all the remaining English outfits left in the Champions League, it’s Man City who are undoubtedly the happiest with their draw, having been paired-up with Ukrainian challengers Dynamo Kiev, and they are 12/1 to triumph next year.
— Eliaquim Mangala (@Elia22Mangala) December 14, 2015
The Sky Blues will see this as their best chance of finally lifting a European Cup, but Kiev may pose more of a threat than people are assuming. Under the guidance of national hero Serhiy Rebrov, the club ended a six-year wait for a domestic crown and the two-time UEFA Cup winners will seek a shock over City.
Dynamo Kiev beat Man City 2-1 on aggregate in 2010/11 Europa League knockout tie, a result which may breed some confidence into the current crop of players looking back, but under Manuel Pellegrini, City have looked capable of properly challenging the big boys this time around.
Read our Champions League archive.
Make sure to check out the Europa League last 32 draw too.