The draw has been made for the last 16 stage of the UEFA Champions League with various highlights including Sevilla vs Leicester City, PSG vs Barcelona and Bayern Munich vs Arsenal.
I have picked out three mouth watering ties to watch out for come February.
Bayern Munich vs Arsenal
This tie surely tops the list given the history of this fixture. Bayern will surely go into this tie as the favourites, having won the last three meetings at this stage between both sides. Arsenal however have their most strongest squad in years and will be ready to give the German team a good battle to get into the quarter finals.
Arsene Wenger’s contract is up this summer and will be eager to ensure that he bows out on a high, should the board let him go. When will he have a better chance to see off the club that has haunted his club in the Champions League knockout stage over the years?
The Gunners’ squad is the best it been in years and are surely in a position to get themselves in to the quarter finals. With Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez amongst their ranks, there will be no excuses for another first leg failure which has been common in recent seasons with too much to do in the return leg.
PSG vs Barcelona
This is the match up that every neutral would of wanted.
PSG will surely be eying up the Champions League, now that the Ligue 1 title is looking to be a three horse battle with Monaco and Nice. Failure to win a trophy this season under Unai Emery will be seen as a disappointment. Emery’s European experience surely makes the Champions League a more lucrative option than the domestic league and cup.
Barcelona are struggling against their title rivals domestically and will also be wanting to win the Champions League this season, The Catalonians will be grateful to have the MSN trio in their squad or they could find themselves in trouble against PSG.
Both teams are certainly going to leave nothing in the changing rooms in order to avoid an early exit. This will allow Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez to prove why they are amongst Europe’s best strikers. The defences will surely not want to concede and be responsible for their side’s premature exit.
Sevilla vs Leicester City
This tie is evenly matched with both sides capable of turning on the quality on occasions.
Much of how this tie turns out will lie in how both clubs use the winter transfer window. If Leicester can get someone in to help improve their defence and goalkeeping when Kasper Schmeichel is unavailable, they will be difficult to beat.
Their league form has however been rocky, making the Champions League even more important if they are to end the season on a high. They might look to the FA Cup as a source for success instead of Europe, if they get past Everton and the fourth round.
Sevilla also could do with someone to shore up their defence if they are to get into the title race because they can score the goals but are leaking quite a few in. They currently have a +8 GD in La Liga despite being third in the league table, which isn’t good enough against likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
If the opportunity does arise around the time of the two legs for the Spanish side to get into the domestic title race, the Foxes will sniff a chance to cause an upset and progress to the quarter finals.
Squad wise, both clubs are evenly matched and if Claudio Ranieri can hold onto Riyad Mahrez after January, he could be the player to keep Leicester on track for a fairytale European season.