Why Manchester City are the team Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will want to avoid in the Champions League draw

first_img Comment Oliver Young-MylesFriday 15 Mar 2019 8:16 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link578Shares Fernandinho is the one irreplaceable outfield player in Manchester City’s squad (Getty Images)Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero are arguably enjoying their greatest individual seasons to date but as good they are, the one player that City cannot afford to be without is Fernandinho, as was proven during their blip in December which coincided with his absence. Currently sidelined with a groin injury, Pep Guardiola will be hoping to have him back sooner rather than later.More: Manchester United FCRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseEx-Man Utd coach blasts Ed Woodward for two key transfer errors Why Manchester City are the team Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will want to avoid in the Champions League draw Dusan Tadic was in inspired form against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu (Getty Images)Just a year after battling relegation with Southampton, Dusan Tadic is starring in the Champions League latter stages. The Serbian has six goals and three assists in the competition, only Lionel Messi (eight goals, three assists) has directly contributed towards more goals.Tottenham HotspurRoute to the quarters:Spurs looked near certainties to crash out in the group stage after registering just one point from their opening three games, however, last-gasp victories against PSV and Inter followed by a hard-fought draw at the Camp Nou saw them squeeze through behind Barcelona.That set-up a meeting with Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund in the knockout rounds and after overcoming a cagey first-half, Spurs blitzed them with three second-half goals at Wembley before winning the return leg 1-0.Recent form: LWDLLSpurs’ form between their victories over Dortmund hasn’t been particularly good as they have picked up just a solitary point from ten available in the Premier League, losing to Burnley, Chelsea and Southampton.Key man: Harry Kane Lionel Messi is the highest scorer still in the competition (Getty Images)Who else? Despite approaching his 32nd birthday, Lionel Messi is showing no signs of slowing down with this being one of his best seasons to date. The Argentine has eight goals and three assists to show from six Champions League games and a further 26 goals and 12 assists in 25 La Liga matches.JuventusRoute to the quarters:Juventus looked every bit potential winners at the start of the campaign as they recorded three straight victories in the group stages, including a 1-0 win at Old Trafford. United brought them down with a bump in Turin and they were defeated again by Young Boys in the final game but still progressed as group winners.Despite that, they were handed a tough draw against Atletico Madrid and a 2-0 defeat at the Wanda Metropolitano where this years final will be hosted, saw their hopes put in jeopardy. However, a Cristian Ronaldo inspired fightback saw them overcome a first-leg deficit and go through 3-2.Recent form: WWWWLJuventus have a 28-point lead in Serie A with 11 games to go which means they should be nicely rested for their Champions League endeavours. They have only failed to win three times in the league and are the only side in Europe’s top five leagues yet to be beaten.Key man: Cristiano Ronaldo Harry Kane scored the only goal as Spurs beat Dortmund 1-0 in Germany (Getty Images)Spurs coped well enough without their talisman for the first leg against Dortmund but he proved how important he is by extinguishing the Bundesliga side’s hopes shortly after the restart in the return game. Kane has scored 14 goals in 17 Champions League games.Manchester UnitedRoute to the quarters:Manchester United didn’t have it all their own way in the group stages, drawing to Valencia and losing to Juventus at Old Trafford in the second and third matches. A miraculous late comeback in Turin turned their campaign around, though, and a comprehensive win over Young Boys meant they progressed with a game to spare.AdvertisementOle Gunnar Solskjaer assumed the reigns in time for the last-16 clash against PSG and despite overseeing his first defeat in charge during the first leg, he led the team through to the quarters thanks to Marcus Rashford’s 94th-minute penalty.Recent form: LWWWDAt the 13th time of asking, Solskjaer was on the receiving end of a Premier League defeat as United were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal at the Emirates, but that blip aside, the Norwegian has instigated an impressive change of fortunes since replacing Jose Mourinho.Key man: Paul Pogba Paul Pogba missed the second leg win over PSG but has been the main man under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Getty Images)What made United’s unthinkable victory over PSG all the more improbable was the fact that they were without so many key players for the game, including Paul Pogba who was suspended. The Frenchman will have a pivotal role if they are to get any further, though, having contributed seven goals and seven assists in 16 games under Solskjaer.LiverpoolRoute to the quarters:Liverpool made heavy weather of reaching the knockout rounds by losing all three of their away games in an admittedly tough group containing PSG, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade.However, Liverpool made Anfield a fortress, winning all three of their games to set up a meeting with fellow five-time winner of the competition, Bayern Munich.A 0-0 stalemate in the first leg was turned on its head in the second as Liverpool blitzed Bayern 3-1 in their own back yard.Recent form: WWDWDSo much for a crisis of confidence. Liverpool have still just lost one game in the Premier League this season and have returned to winning ways both domestically and in Europe of late.AdvertisementKey man: Virgil Van Dijkcenter_img Moussa Marega’s form in front of goal has been pivotal to Porto’s progression (Getty Images)A couple of likely lads head the Champions League goalscorer charts with both Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski on eight apiece, yet just behind them is Porto’s Moussa Marega with six. Centre Back Eder Militao is also worthy of attention having been snapped up by Real Madrid this week.Can they win it?Sergio Conceicao has done an impressive job but if he were to lead them to glory, it would arguably eclipse Jose Mourinho’s achievements 15 years ago.AjaxRoute to the quarters:Ajax started their Champions League campaign way back in July in the second qualifying round and had to beat Sturm Graz, Standard Liege and Dynamo Kyiv just to reach the group stage.They were edged out by Bayern Munich for top spot in Group E but went through unbeaten after drawing 1-1 with the Bundesliga champions away and 3-3 with them at home.Despite losing 2-1 to Real Madrid in the last-16 first leg in Amsterdam, Ajax booked their place in the quarters with an incredible 4-1 win at the Bernabeu.AdvertisementAdvertisementRecent form: WWWWWAjax have won their last six games in all competitions but despite scoring an incredible 88 goals in 25 games, they find themselves two points behind PSV in the Eredivisie table.Key man: Dusan Tadic Advertisement Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick sent Juventus through at Atletico Madrid’s expense (Getty Images)After winning four Champions League titles in five years with Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo opted for a new challenge by joining a club that has lost their previous five finals in the competition. Following a slow start in the group stage which yielded one goal and a red card in five games, Ronaldo took off in the last-16 with a hat-trick to sink Atletico.Manchester CityRoute to the quarters:Despite failing to beat Lyon home or away, Manchester City eased into the knockout rounds in first place, a full five points clear of the Ligue 1 side in second.They were handed a generous draw against Schalke in the last-16 and after snatching a 3-2 win with two goals in the final five minutes in Gelsenkirchen, City pulverised their opponents 7-0 in the return leg at the Etihad.Recent form: WWWWWCity have had a productive time of late, lifting their first piece of silverware of the season after beating Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final and inching ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League table. A measure of their form is that they have scored a frightening 61 goals in all competitions in 2019…Key man: Fernandinho Advertisement Virgil Van Dijk scored Liverpool’s crucial second goal against Bayern Munich (Getty Images)Sadio Mane has been in sensational form in attack, but Virgil Van Dijk is just as crucial at the other end of the pitch. No defender in Europe can match the Dutchman for influence and he demonstrated his threat in the opposition area against Bayern.BarcelonaRoute to the quarters:Barcelona made light work of the group stages, finishing in their customary first place position and a full six points clear of second-placed Tottenham. They dropped points against Inter and Spurs in the group and drew away to Lyon in the knockouts but are the only team left who are yet to be beaten this season.A 5-1 hammering of Lyon in the second leg of their last-16 tie was a rather ominous statement of intent.Recent form: WWWWWIt has been a wonderful few weeks for Barcelona all in all. They dumped Real Madrid out of the Copa Del Rey semi-finals with a 3-0 win at the Bernabeu, effectively ended their La Liga title hopes in the same stadium with another 1-0 victory and cruised through to the Champions League quarter-finals against Lyon.Key man: Lionel Messi Manchester City hammered Schalke in the round of the last 16 (Picture: Getty)Following a dramatic, action-packed round of 16, there are only eight teams remaining in the Champions League and for the first time in a decade, half of those representatives hail from the Premier League.Manchester United were involved in the most eye-catching result, overturning a 2-0 deficit to draw 3-3 with PSG and qualify via away goals thanks to a swish of Marcus Rashford’s right foot deep into stoppage time in the Parc Des Princes.Liverpool prospered over one of the bookies’ favourites at the start of the competition by beating Bayern Munich 3-1 overall, while both Spurs and Manchester City also triumphed over German opposition, enjoying comfortable victories over Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 respectively.AdvertisementAdvertisementJoining the four-strong Premier League contingent in the quarter-finals are usual suspects Barcelona and Juventus as well as a couple of plucky underdogs in the form of Porto and Ajax. The eight remaining teams will learn of their fate in the draw on Friday, but how strong are they?ADVERTISEMENTPortoRoute to the quarters: The rank outsiders to win the competition just as they were when they last did so in 2004, Porto have enjoyed a quietly impressive season in Europe thus far by losing just once in eight games.Admittedly, their group was on the generous side, yet they still deserve credit for dropping only two points on the way to finishing ahead of Schalke, Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow.Roma edged past them 2-1 in the last-16 first leg, but Porto hit back in the second leg by winning 3-1 after extra time in a game made notorious by Pepe and Edin Dzeko’s actions…Recent form: WWLWWPorto have been in good form of late, winning five of their last six games although their sole defeat during that run was a costly one as they slipped up at home to their title rivals Benfica. Both teams are locked on 60 points with nine league games remaining.Key man: Moussa Maregalast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *