UEFA Champions League: Early predictions for round of 16 clashes

From PSG vs Real Madrid to Chelsea vs Barcelona, we have predicted the outcomes of all the mega clashes!

UEFA Champions League: Early predictions for round of 16 clashes

(L-R) PSG forward Neymar, Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo, Chelsea winger Eden Hazard and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (Photos: AFP)

The UEFA Champions League round of 16 draw on Monday in Nyon matched some of Europe’s elite against each other with plenty of mouthwatering clashes around, but who are the teams likely to progress to the quarters of the elite continental competition?

The Statesman gives early predictions for all eight round of 16 clashes below:

Game 1: Juventus FC vs Tottenham Hotspur FC

Last season’s finalists Juventus have been unable to hit top gear this time round and were humbled 3-0 by Barcelona in Group D on Matchday 1, which would suggest the Bianconeri are not quite at the level they were at, especially in Europe as they finished the group-stages as runners-up.


The departures of Leonardo Bonucci and Dani Alves have clearly weakened a previously-impenetrable defence, which is beginning to show signs of age.

Paulo Dybala may be seen as Lionel Messi’s heir, but his continental performances have left a lot to be desired while club-record signing Gonzalo Higuain has been not been his usual prolific self as Massimiliano Allegri’s men have been largely unremarkable.

Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela
Will Tottenham’s vibrancy be too much for Juventus? (Photo: AFP)


Tottenham Hotspur have struggled mightily in the Premier League, but their European campaign has been nothing short of spectacular.

The mighty Real Madrid came a cropper against the free-flowing Lilywhites, who are finally beginning to show some promise. Harry Kane continues to score plunder goals while the likes of Hugo Lloris and Toby Alderweireld are running a tight ship at the back.

At this point, Spurs look like they will clinch this tie by a whisker.

Game 2: FC Basel vs Manchester City FC

Basel have long been the bane of English sides in European competition, but Manchester City are no ordinary Premier League side.

The runaway Premier League leaders (currently topping the table by 11 points) have wowed all and sundry with their irrepressible performances and are odds-on to reach the quarters.

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City F.C., Premier League, UEFA Champions Leauge
Pep is eyeing a third UEFA Champions League title this year! (Photo: AFP)


Basel can create problems for Pep Guardiola’s men in Switzerland, but across the both legs, the Sky Blues, who topped a tough group consisting of Napoli, Shaktar Donetsk and Feyenoord, have too much quality and should progress without a hitch.

Game 3: FC Porto vs Liverpool FC

Group G had two surprise packages, with first being Besiktas of course, but the second were Portuguese side Porto.

The 2004 winners came in second place, creditable as the likes of RB Leipzig and Monaco crashed out while Besiktas topped the group.

Mohamed Salah, Liverpool F.C., Premier League, UEFA Champions League
Mohamed Salah can’t stop scoring, but will Liverpool’s defensive woes come to the fore once again? (Photo: AFP)


They are topping the Primeira Liga as well, but up against them are an unpredictable Liverpool side, who produced some imperious displays enroute to topping Group E.

Jurgen Klopp’s men, barring a defensive collapse, should be able to progress to the last eight.

Game 4: Sevilla vs Manchester United FC

Manchester United fans were relatively pleased with their draw and while Sevilla are no Bayern Munich or Real Madrid, they are no pushovers as well.

The Red Devils were largely solid, if unspectacular, as is the case with most Jose Mourinho sides, as they topped Group A.

Sevilla gave Liverpool as good as they got, but inexplicably lost the plot against Spartak Moscow and their La Liga campaign hasn’t exactly been impressive either, which would suggest the three-time champions are favourites here.

Marcus Rashford, Manchester United F.C., Premier League, UEFA Champions Leauge
United are too good not to progress to the quarters! (Photo: AFP)


Mourinho knows all there is about winning the UEFA Champions League and it’s difficult to see anything else than United progressing from this round-of-16 tie.

Game 5: Real Madrid CF vs Paris-Saint Germain FC

The highlight fixture of the round-of-16 pits the two-time defending champions against the latest team with deep pockets.

Real’s La Liga and UEFA Champions League title defences have not begun on the best of notes as Los Blancos were bested by Tottenham to top spot in Group H and are way off the pace in the Spanish league as well.

PSG, on the other hand, began their campaign with a statement as they thumped Bayern Munich while scoring 25 goals in six group-stage games.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid C.F., UEFA Champions League, La Liga
Ronaldo has been sensational in Europe this season! (Photo: AFP)


Considering the expensively-assembled firepower at their disposal, that was perhaps the bare minimum and while Bayern did beat them on Matchday 6, Les Parisiens are very much title contenders.

However, if there’s anything Zinedine Zidane’s men have proved in the past few seasons it’s that they lift their game as the business end of the season approaches.

Fissures have appeared in their squad and with rumours of discontent surrounding manager Unai Emery, they may just self-destruct.

Real to win in extra-time after two pulsating legs.

Game 6: Shaktar Donetsk vs AS Roma

Against all odds, Roma managed to emerge from Group C as winners, stunning favourites Chelsea as they scored six goals over the course of two legs.

The Giallorossi have been decent in Serie A as well and Eusebio Di Francesco’s side could prove to be this year’s dark horses.

A.S. Roma, Serie A, UEFA Champions League, Eusebio Di Francesco
Roma are a side that can beat anyone on their day! (Photo: AFP)


Shaktar may not be the team they were a few seasons ago, but they still possess plenty of quality and are more than capable of creating an upset, as their win over Manchester City on Matchday 6 proved.

However, we have to give this tie to the Italian outfit, who are unlikely to let complacency creep in at any stage.

Game 7: Chelsea FC vs FC Barcelona

Chelsea paid the price for coming second to Roma by getting familiar foes Barcelona. The Blues are used to playing the mighty Catalans in Europe, just not this early.

After blowing everyone aside to a Premier League title last season, Antonio Conte’s men have been far more subdued this time round. Struggling to cope with European competitions with a relatively-modest squad, it’s not a stretch to say Conte will be focusing on Europe as the domestic title is well out of their reach now.

Against them are a side that are hurting. For Barcelona have been put in the shade by Real Madrid in the past two seasons and will be raring to prove tales of their demise have been exaggerated.

Lionel Messi, F.C. Barcelona, La Liga, UEFA Champions Leauge
Lionel Messi and co will be desperate to prove Barcelona aren’t done yet! (Photo: AFP)


Despite losing Neymar to PSG, the Catalans actually look like they have improved and with Ousmane Dembele nearing a first-team return, Ernesto Valverde’s men will get even better in the coming months.

Chelsea have a host of top players, notably N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard, a canny manager in Antonio Conte but will Barcelona’s verve be too much?

Any way you look at it, Barcelona are primed to progress.

Game 8: FC Bayern Munich vs Besiktas JK

This season’s surprise package, Besiktas, were unfortunate to be drawn with five-time winners  Bayern Munich in the round-of-16.

The Turkish outfit trumped the likes of RB Leipzig, AS Monaco and FC Porto to clinch top spot in Group G but it seems their fairytale will meet an ignominious end.

F.C. Bayern Munich, Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League, Franck Ribery
The evergreen Franck Ribery is just one of many big guns Bayern posses! (Photo: AFP)


Bayern, after unceremoniously sacking Carlo Ancelotti mid-way into the season, have been revitalised under their treble-winning manager Jupp Heynckes and are set to waltz into the quarters.

Die Bayern are too good for Besiktas and should comfortably ease into the next round.