Friday, December 21, 2007

UEFA Champions League 2007-08: Final 16 Draw and Analysis

The draw of last 16 teams in Champions League 2007-2008 has been finished. The schedule of the matches has already been finalized as well. All the 16 teams of knock out stage have got to know about their opposition teams to face. The draw was held at CET in Nyon, Switzerland on 21 December 2007. So, the participating teams have about two months at hand to prepare themselves before going facing their opponents. Here, I am giving the full list of the matches to be played in this first knock out round:

Celtic vs Barcelona
Spanish giant Barcelona will face Scottish club Celtic in this round. Barcelona progressed to this round with sheer success in Group E with 14 points from 6 matches whereas Celtic made it to the last 16 from D. However, they had to struggle to claim the second place of this group with three victories against three losses. So, Celtic is obviously going to face strong challenge from Barcelona in the first knock out round of Champions League 2007-2008.

Olympique Lyon vs Manchester United
English premier league champion Manchester United is going to take on French club Olympique Lyon in this stage of Champions league 2007-2008. Manchester Untied has been tremendous in group stage as they got into the last 16 as the champion of Group F with five wins and a draw. On the other hand, Olympique Lyon finished second to Barcelona in Group E. However, their performance was not so satisfactory. So, let us see how they handle Manchester United in this round.

Schalke vs Porto
You might think that this is a low profile match compared to the other matches of this round. Well, let me give you some information in this regard. Porto got into the last 16 as the Group A champions passing behind English club Liverpool. Though Schalke 04 could not show anything special in group stage finishing second to Chelsea, they could come up with a goal less draw against Chelsea at home. So, Schalke 04 and Porto both have something to prove in this round.

Liverpool vs Inter Milan
English club Liverpool is now going through a tough time in EPL. In the same way, they also struggled to progress in the knock out stage from Group A. However, in the last match they defeated Olympique Marseille 4-0 in France. Italian giant Inter Milan made it to the last 16 from Group G with five wins against a defeat. I think, fans are going to experience an excellent match between this two high profile teams.

Roma vs Real Madrid
Spanish league champion Real Madrid will face Italian side Roma in the first knockout stage of Champions League 2007-2008. Though Real Madrid finished atop in Group C, they could now show much dominance over the other participants. Their performance was ordinary. However, after a long while Real Madrid could be able to reach at the last 16 as group champion in Champions league. Roma took their place in this stage finishing second to Manchester Untied in Group F. Now, let us see if the two high profile European clubs can present a mind blowing match.

Arsenal vs AC Milan
Arsenal is now in good form at this moment leading the point table of EPL this season. However, their performance in group stage was not so dominating in this round of Champions league 2007-2008. Arsenal came to the knock out stage as the runner up of group H with 13 points. Italian giant AC Milan also got into the last 16 with 13 points from Group D. AC Milan is the defending champion in Champions league this season. So, we can hopeful to experience an interesting match between these two inform clubs.

Olympiakos vs Chelsea
Greek side Olympiacos progressed to the final 16 with 11 points from Group C. They lost just a match in Group stage. I think, Olympiakos is a balanced side. On the other hand, Chelsea has been superb in the last few seasons. However, they failed to show consistency this season in EPL. However, their performance in the group stage of Champions league was good as they did not suffer any defeat in Group B. However, it is obvious that Chelsea is going to face a strong challenge from Olympiakos in this round of knock out stage.

Fenerbahce vs Sevilla
Turkish club Fenerbahce will face inform Spanish team Sevilla in this round. Fenerbahce played excellent well in Group G. They finished second to Inter Milan in the group in their way to ensure a place in the last 16. Sevilla was tremendous in group stage as they won five out of six games and got in to the knock out stage as the group champion leaving behind Arsenal in the second. Actually, the way Sevilla is playing theses days, it shows their unity and strength as a team. I hope to see an exciting clash between the two low profiles but inform teams.

So, dear readers, you can expect to see some mind blowing matches in the first round of Champions League 2007-2008. All the teams have their worth to prove once again in this bigger stage. Now, let us see who are going to next round from this round of 16.

What do you think about the matches of first round of knock out stage?

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