We’re currently in the middle of the Champions League campaign, and now 16 teams are left to compete with each other during the final stages. Although there are much more superior teams left in the competition, you still can’t count the likes of Basel out of the mix. Realistically, though, which teams have the power and experience to bring the crown back to their trophy rooms?
Manchester City currently find themselves favourites to take the crown for the first time in their history and, if their domestic form is anything to go by, they have a real shot of competing with Europe’s elite. The only problem Manchester City have is that they don’t have the same Champions League experience as some of the other favourites, as they’ve only been competing at the highest level now for around 5 years. One benefit City do have is that they have a winning manager in Pep Guardiola, and he has experience to take the club to a higher level. Will Manchester City be able to compete with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid? Or will their lack of experience cost them when it really matters?
Paris St Germain
With the quality PSG have at their disposal, it would be very hard not to see them in the final stages of the tournament. Neymar, Cavani and Mbappe all have the quality to score the important goals in both legs in each stage of the cup. It just depends on whether they have the defensive quality to keep out Real Madrid and co. They are second favourites to Manchester City by a small margin, but if they can continue their good run of form like they have domestically, they are serious contenders to bring the Champions League to France.
You can never count Barcelona out of anything they compete for, especially the Champions League. They’re already a team filled with heroes in Lionel Messi and Iniesta, and it could be their heroics that takes them to the winner’s circle of the Champions League. Barcelona still aren’t the same team as they once were under Pep Guardiola, but they still have the attacking quality to put any team aside on their day. Barcelona are strong contenders to bring the cup back to Spain, but they’ll need to be at their best with some of the other teams they’re up against.
If you look at the current form of Manchester United you wouldn’t fancy them at all in a competition with so much quality opposition, but all sports betting odds suggest they’re still in the mix. After all, we’re going into the last 16 of the tournament when anything has and can happen. One advantage Manchester United have other their competitors is that their defence looks pretty solid, and they’ve only conceded a mere 16 goals in 24 games in their Premier League campaign. The only problem United have is that they’re very hit or miss. They can’t seem to string a good run of form together under Mourinho, and it has become a problem in the Premier League. United do, however, have the experience of winning the Champions League on two previous occasions, so never say never.
Italian sides always seem to do well on the European stage. We’ve seen Roma, Napoli and Juventus compete at the other end of the competition multiple times in their history. Juventus look like a different opposition this year and defensively they’re well known to be able to handle the bigger giants. Ultimately, it depends what side of Juventus turns up in the final stages of the competition, but if they can defend properly like they’re known for, there’s no reason why their attack minded players won’t be able to do the business in front of goal.
Liverpool also look like strong candidates this year along with Bayern Munich. However, the above teams look like they have that little bit more this year in terms of attacking and defensive ability. Will Manchester City live up to their status as favourites of the competition or will Manchester United provide us with a shock and turn up the heat on their rivals?