21 January, 2020 - 17:16

Man City Remain Champions League Favourites After Last 16 Draw

The Champions League draw took place in Switzerland several weeks ago and it yielded some exciting clashes between Europe’s top teams. Premier League champions Man City will tangle with Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid, while PSG take on Borussia Dortmund and holders Liverpool face Atletico Madrid. The bookmakers responded to the draw by shifting the odds on several teams in the Champions League winner markets. These are the top contenders to lift the famous trophy in May:

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Man City

Pep Guardiola’s men suffered a heart-breaking defeat against domestic rivals Tottenham in last season’s quarter-finals but then went on to secure a second consecutive Premier League title. They now find themselves well struggling to keep up with Liverpool in the league and they are expected to focus their attention on Europe instead. They landed an extremely tricky last 16 draw against Real Madrid, but the SBR Champions League odds show that Man City are the favourites to sweep Los Blancos aside and go on to win the tournament for the first time in their history. They will need to fix their defensive shortcomings and hope that Kevin De Bruyne stays fit if they are to justify that exalted status.

Liverpool

The Reds are the reigning champions of Europe after overwhelming Tottenham in last season’s final. They are into the last 16 after a fine victory over Salzburg, and they look extremely strong in every department right now. Liverpool have taken 16 wins and one draw from 17 Premier League games so far this season, which has left them cruising to the title, so they can afford to give the Champions League the respect it deserves too. Their 4-0 triumph against Barcelona last season proved what a fortress Anfield is, and it is surprising to see them narrowly behind Man City in the betting. They look perfectly capable of winning this tournament.

Barcelona

Barca reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in four attempts last season, and it all went to plan as they beat Liverpool 3-0 in the first leg. However, they then suffered an epic meltdown in the second leg and crashed out. They have been handed several brutal defeats of that nature in recent seasons, and their mentality is starting to be questioned. Lionel Messi has just been named the best player in the world yet again, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann are both world-class forwards and Frenkie de Jong should reinvigorate their midfield, but there are concerns over the Barcelona defence.

PSG

PSG continue to disappoint their fans in the Champions League. They are masters of Ligue 1 and the lack of competition in France could be a factor in their failings in Europe, as they are unaccustomed to stern tests of their mettle. The group stage went swimmingly, particularly when they batted Real Madrid at Parc des Princes, and they should be able to overcome Borussia Dortmund over two legs in the last 16. However, there are serious question marks over their ability to thrive in the latter stages of the tournament.

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich annihilated Spurs in their group and that performance augurs well for the rest of the tournament. However, they are struggling in their domestic league, where they trail pacesetters RB Leipzig and several other teams, and their poor form has already cost Niko Kovac his job. When they turn it on, Bayern can be unplayable, but they need to discover greater consistency if they are to win another Champions League title.

Juventus

Juventus are sixth in the betting for the Champions League, despite securing a comfortable last 16 draw against Lyon. They look like a strong outside shot to lift the trophy, as they should ease past the French side and into the quarters. They have a strong defence – new manager Maurizio Sarri just needs to harness it correctly – and they should welcome Giorgio Chiellini back by March. They also boast the most dangerous forward in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo is an absolute whirlwind and he really gets going in this tournament, so that makes the Italian champions a formidable prospect for any opponents. They have already got the better of Atletico Madrid in their group, and they have more than enough quality to go deep into this competition.

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Author: Jime Fuques

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