The UEFA Champions League round of 16 draw was held in Nyon on Monday 14 December, with holders Barcelona among seven past winners involved. Two seeding pots were formed, one consisting of group winners with Barcelona leading the eight top seeds while the other pot consisted of the runners-up.
The Seeded group winners were drawn to play away in the round of 16 first legs on 16/17 and 23/24 February before returning home for the second leg fixtures on 8/9 and 15/16 March. No team was drawn to play a club from their group or any side from their own association.
Here we profile the final 16 teams and take a look at the contenders for the quarter finals draws slated for the 18th of March, 2016.
Paris Saint-Germain v Chelsea (16 February & 9 March)
It was a case of deja vu for Chelsea and Paris who have met each in the last two seasons with both ties decided on away goals. Jose Mourinho’s men won their 2013/14 quarter-final while Paris Saint Germaine gained revenge in dramatic fashion in last term’s round of 16.
Dramatic late equalisers from David Luiz in normal time and Thiago Silva in extra-time last term earned Laurent Blanc’s passage to the quarter finals, ending Jose Mourinho’s quest for the treble despite playing with ten men following Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s early dismissal.
Chelsea were a different proposition the last time the sides met, when they were well on their way to winning the Premier League title. Having endured a shocking start to the current season on the domestic scene, Mourinho and his men currently lie 16 in the premier league table. PSG who are 17 points clear on top of the Ligue 1 table without writing off the West Londoners look good for the quarter final ticket but they will be wary of the Blues who have the UCL as their only route to playing in Europe next season.
Arsenal v Barcelona (23 February & 16 March)
After squeezing out of Group F with final two group wins against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos, it appears the Gunners’ prize for completing the great escape is the daunting last-16 clash with Barcelona – their third meeting in six years in the UEFA Champions League.
Arsenal’s pairing with Barcelona will prompt memories of defeat in the 2006 final in Saint-Denis, 2009-10 quarter-finals and 2010-11 last 16 against the reigning European champions. Four sublime goals from Lionel Messi, including a fabulous first-half hat-trick, took the holders into the semi-finals in the sides last meeting.
Barcelona, currently in Japan to contest the Fifa Club World Cup in my opinion are overwhelming favourites, but there remains some optimism within the Emirates that Arsène Wenger’s team can end their miserable run against the Catalans hopefully with the return of key members of the squad from injury.
Dynamo Kyiv v Man City (24 February & 15 March)
Manchester City topped their group for the first time ever thanks to a sensational comeback against Borussia Monchengladbach and were paired with Dynamo Kiev during Monday’s draw in Nyon. City will be pleased to have avoided the dangerous PSG as they bid to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
Dynamo ousted Manchester City 2-1 on aggregate in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 16, prevailing 2-0 at home before a 1-0 away loss. Dynamo ousted Manchester City 2-1 on aggregate in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 16, winning 2-0 at home before a 1-0 away defeat. City seem to be hitting the right buttons on the continent at the moment and with their current form on the domestic front, they unarguably are the favourites for one of the eight quarter final tickets.
Juventus v Bayern Munich (23 February & 16 March)
Last season’s runners-up Juventus were handed a tough-looking draw against 2013 winners Bayern Munich were handed a tough-looking draw against Juventus.
Bayern overcame Juventus 2-0 home and away in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals en route to lifting the trophy. Juventus had won the first three of the teams’ meetings but Bayern are now unbeaten in the last five, recording four victories.
The clash between the German and Italian champions is just one of a number of mouthwatering ties in the last-16. And despite Bayern boss Pep Guardiola admitting that his side face one of the most dangerous teams in European football, the Bavarians who eased into the knockout stages after topping Group F with a near perfect record in my opinion are likely to qualify ahead of the Old Lady considering their current forms in the Bundesliga and the Champions League.
While German league leaders have been beaten just once in Europe and in the league in 22 fixtures this season, Juventus who are fourth on the Serie A log have lost five, four in the league and once in the continent in the same number of ties.