Just Pick the Balls out of a Hat!

How hard is it to perform a cup draw? UEFA made right fools of themselves on Monday December 13 and twice had to carry out the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League. Just take 16 balls and draw them out, who cares if the sides met in the group stages! Now the draw has been finalised, let’s look at who could make it into the quarter finals.

Defending champions Chelsea were drawn against Lille in both draws that were made. It’s a great draw for the Londoners with the French champions struggling in their title defence. With Chelsea finishing second in their group, they could have had a much more difficult last 16 opponent.

Lille are 11th in Ligue 1 and closer to the relegation zone than retaining their title. Chelsea won all three of their home games in the group stages and will look to keep that going in the first leg at Stamford Bridge in February. You can get 4/11 on Chelsea to win this tie.

Manchester United take on Atletico Madrid in the last 16. A bit better than their original draw against PSG but still a difficult match. Atletico aren’t in good form at present, but these ties don’t take place for a couple of months.

United won their group but did it the hard way, regularly falling behind in their games. Will Ronaldo still be at the club after the January transfer window? They could well show improvement over the coming weeks but probably wish they were meeting Atletico right now. Coral gives odds of 4/6 on United making the last 16 which look decent odds.

Manchester City will be pleased with their draw against Sporting Lisbon. The Portuguese side qualified despite losing three of their group matches. Ajax went there and put five past them (and then four more in the reverse fixture), so City should have few problems making it into the quarter finals and are 1/6 at Paddy Power to do just that.

Liverpool have probably the toughest draw of the English clubs. After beating Milan in the group stages, now they take on Serie A champions Inter. Liverpool won all six of their group games and scored 17 goals. They can’t stop scoring at present and why should that change in February?

Inter only won one of their three away group games (at Sheriff) and lost at home to Real Madrid. They are back on top of Serie A but Liverpool are a major threat this season, especially with their impressive away form. It’s 2/9 at BoyleSports that Liverpool reach the last eight.

Looking at the other ties, Bayern Munich should have few problems getting past Red Bull Salzburg. Ajax had a great group and can be backed to get past Benfica and are 1/3 at Coral to do so. Juventus aren’t doing that well in Serie A but have been much better in the Champions League. Back them to knock out Villarreal at odds of 1/2 at Bet365.

Finally, we have PSG v Real Madrid, and this is going to be a close one. PSG often find a way to get knocked out of the Champions League. Real are in good form and if that’s still the case in February, it might not be a happy return to Spain in March for Lionel Messi. You can get 6/5 at Ladbrokes on the Spanish side qualifying.