UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Predictions

The second leg of the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League, the most prestigious club competition in the world, is ready to kick off with some intriguing match-ups. Here are our predictions.

Napoli v. Real Madrid (Leg 1: Agg. 1-3)

Real Madrid were heavy favorites in the first leg, playing in their home stadium in Spain against a seemingly inferior Napoli side, most people didn’t even give them a chance. However, it was the Italians who stunned the home side and struck first, through a 35-yard stunner from striker Lorenzo Insigne. Despite the early lead, Madrid struck back with 2 goals in 5 minutes from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos, before midfielder Casemiro sealed the game with a stunning volley. Though Napoli scored the always-crucial away goal, and leg 2 being played in Naples, we think Real Madrid will have no problem advancing to the next round due to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

Bayern Munich v. Arsenal (Leg 1: Agg. 5-1)

Arsenal once again has been paired up with their nightmare match up against Bayern Munich. Arsenal is looking for a bit of revenge after Bayern Munich eliminated them 3 out of the last 4 Champions Leagues. Arjen Robben and Bayern Munich struck first with an absolute beauty of a curler into the top left corner. However Arsenal had the fight to score the ever so important away goal coming from the feet of Alexis Sanchez in the 30th minute. However Carlo Ancelotti half time speech lit a fire in the Bayern players. At the start of the second half Bayern snatched Arsenals fight right away from them with goals from Lewandowski in the 53rd minute and Thiago Alcantara  in the 56th minute. Bayern later added two more goals in the 63rd minutre and 88th minute. Arsenals chances of recovering from this first leg thrashing are slim to none, leading to speculation of manager Arsene Wenger’s job security.

Benfica v. Borussia Dortmund (Leg 1: Agg. 1-0)

Defending Portuguese champions Benfica drew one of the most even match-ups of the Round of 16 in perennial German powerhouses Dortmund. The first leg, played in Portugal, was very even, with Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missing three clear-cut chances, including a penalty that was saved by Benfica keeper Ederson. It was Greek striker Mitroglou who scored the game’s only goal, to see them hold a 1 goal advantage heading back to Germany. Dortmund’s stadium, known for it’s “Yellow Wall”, is one of the hardest stadiums in the world to play in, so we see them coming from behind to advance past Benfica, into the next round.

Paris Saint Germain v. Barcelona (Leg 1: Agg. 4-0)

Coming into this fixture Barcelona was seen as heavy favorite around the world after knocking Paris Saint Germain out of the Champions League the last three times they faced off. This time around it was a different story all together for Paris Saint Germain. Angel Di Maria opened up the scoring for PSG with a beautiful curling free-kick that left Ter Stegen rooted to the ground. German up and coming star Julian Draxler added a second goal for PSG in the  40th minute. Angel Di Maria continued to shine throughout the whole game and added another beautiful curler in the 55th minute. At this point Barcelona was struggling to get any type of goal scoring chances. Edinson Cavani sealed the game for PSG in the 72nd minute with a counter attacking goal. A 4-0 result is nearly impossible to comeback from in fact not team in the history of the champions league has ever done it. That being said we foresee PSG going through, but if anytime as the capability of turning this result around it would be Barcelona.

Manchester City v. Monaco (Leg 1: Agg. 5-3)

The only remaining English club in the Champions League, Manchester City, were definitely favorites when they drew Monaco in the Round of 16, especially playing at home, and under experienced manager Pep Guardiola. However, Monaco found themselves ahead 3-2 with just 30 minutes to play, thanks to 18-year-old Kylian Mbappe and two goals from Falcao, including a precise chip (see below). After this though, City kicked it into high gear, and Monaco had no answer. They scored three unanswered goals from talisman Sergio Aguero, defender John Stones and young German Leroy Sane. Heading into the second leg, Monaco may be able to pull off the upset at home, but we see Manchester City going through without a problem.

Juventus v. FC Porto (Leg 1: Agg. 2-0)

The reigning Italian champions Juventus drew a favorable matchup by their standards against Portuguese champions FC Porto, despite the match being played in Portugal. As expected, Juventus took care of business pretty easily, especially when Porto defender Alex Telles got a red card in the 28th minute, reducing them to 10 men for the rest of the match. It was substitutes Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves who scored the goals to seal the win. In the return fixture, in Turin, we see Juventus facing no issue with a 2-goal cushion, and advancing into the next round.

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Top 5 Goals of 2017

Top 5 Goals of 2017

The new year has been packed full of world-class goals from around the globe. These are our top 5 of 2017.

 Juan Cuadrado vs. Inter Milan (5 February 2017)

Daily Mail

Throughout the entire 2016-2017 campaign, Colombian winger Juan Cuadrado had been struggling to find minutes in an incredibly deep Juventus squad atop the Serie A.  However, he got his chance just before halftime against Inter Milan, where he unleashed an unstoppable volley to put his team up 1-0.

 Luis Suarez vs. Atletico Madrid (1 February 2017)

The 2016-2017 league campaign has not been going to plan for Barcelona. That being said Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez has been scorching hot. On Februrary 1st Barcelona played their first leg of the Copa Del Rey semi-final Atletico Madrid. Luis Suarez came out on fire, leaving almost half of the Atletico team chasing him as he went in on goal to score a cheeky toe poke into the bottom right corner in front of the Camp Nou.

 Jeison Murillo vs. Bologna (17 January 2017)

Reuters

Normally, defenders in soccer are not known for their goal-scoring prowess. However, the 24-year old Colombian proved this stereotype wrong with his beautiful bicycle kick against Bologna that would make any striker proud. Murillo’s goal gave Inter Milan the opening goal of the tie.

 Olivier Giroud vs. Crystal Palace (1 January 2017)

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring the 2nd Arsenal goal during the match at Emirates Stadium on November 23, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Olivier Giroud has not had the start to the season he wanted, struggling to find a place in the starting lineup mainly due to Alexis Sanchez occupying the 9 role. However, Olivier Giroud made a strong claim at the beginning of the new year as to why he should break into the starting lineup because of his scorpion kick goal.  Giroud’s goal against Crystal Palace proves just how clinical the French Striker really is.

 Andy Carroll vs. Crystal Palace (14 January 2017)

There are many contenders for the top goal of the new year, but number 1 is no question. Andy Carroll has been criticized for being “past his prime”, but he proved that he still has his clinical finishing touch with this spectacular scissor kick to put his team up 2-0. The cross from teammate Mikhail Antonio was just slightly behind the English striker, but he was able to contort his body in midair to adjust and fire a rocket past keeper Wayne Hennessey.

Top 5 Goals of 2017

Top 5 Goals of 2017

The new year has been packed full of world-class goals from around the globe. These are our top 5 of 2017.

5. Juan Cuadrado vs. Inter Milan (5 February 2017)

Throughout the entire 2016-2017 campaign, Colombian winger Juan Cuadrado had been struggling to find minutes in an incredibly deep Juventus squad atop the Serie A.  However, he got his chance just before halftime against Inter Milan, where he unleashed an unstoppable volley to put his team up 1-0.

4. Luis Suarez vs. Atletico Madrid (1 February 2017)

The 2016-2017 league campaign has not been going to plan for Barcelona. That being said Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez has been scorching hot. On Februrary 1st Barcelona played their first leg of the Copa Del Rey semi-final Atletico Madrid. Luis Suarez came out on fire, leaving almost half of the Atletico team chasing him as he went in on goal to score a cheeky toe poke into the bottom right corner.

3. Jeison Murillo vs. Bologna (17 January 2017)

Normally, defenders in soccer are not known for their goal-scoring prowess. However, the 24-year old Colombian proved this stereotype wrong with his beautiful bicycle kick against Bologna that would make any striker proud. Murillo’s goal gave Inter Milan the opening goal of the tie.

2. Olivier Giroud vs. Crystal Palace (1 January 2017)

Olivier Giroud has not had the start to the season he wanted, struggling to find a place in the starting lineup mainly due to Alexis Sanchez occupying the 9 role. However, Olivier Giroud made a strong claim at the beginning of the new year as to why he should break into the starting lineup because of his scorpion kick goal.  Giroud’s goal against Crystal Palace proves just how clinical the French Striker really is.

1. Andy Carroll vs. Crystal Palace (14 January 2017)

There are many contenders for the top goal of the new year, but number 1 is no question. Andy Carroll has been criticized for being “past his prime”, but he proved that he still has his clinical finishing touch with this spectacular scissor kick to put his team up 2-0. The cross from teammate Mikhail Antonio was just slightly behind the English striker, but he was able to contort his body in midair to adjust and fire a rocket past keeper Wayne Hennessey.