With the Champions League and Europa League draws having taken place, the rest of the season is slowly drifting into a more predictable mush. There’s just one last weekend of Serie A action (this weekend), and then there’s a solid two weeks and a bit of break from the Serie A. I certainly find it refreshing, not only for the teams in the competition which will have time to replenish, but for myself as well.
The draw for the Round of 16 matches in the Champions League did not go too well for the Italian teams. Here are the three fixtures which the Serie A sides will be playing in the first round of the knockout stages.
Roma – Shakhtar Donetsk
AC Milan – Tottenham Hotspur
Inter Milan – Bayern Munich
It seems like Roma have the easiest opponent in Shakhtar Donetsk, but the Ukrainian side topped their Champions League group which included Arsenal. They managed to win all of their games in the group stages except one, which they lost away to Arsenal, so it seems like Roma will have a tough time with them.
AC Milan instead get the team which haunted Inter during the group stages, Tottenham Hotspur. The newcomers to this competition did wonderfully well in the group stages, finishing above Inter Milan in the group after some spectacular attacking play. This match looks to be extremely exciting along with it being very difficult to call. While in my mind AC Milan should be able to defeat Tottenham, which have been conceding tons of goals this season, there is a doubt that Allegri’s side falls short to the task.
Inter Milan – Bayern Munich is a strange match-up in my opinion. Both teams which won their domestic leagues and cups, and met each other in the Champions League final last season are now doing poorly in the Serie A and the Bundesliga. Inter Milan are seventh in the Serie A, and Bayern aren’t doing much better in sixth in the Bundesliga, but this clash still looks to be exciting in my opinion. Bayern Munich will undoubtedly want revenge for last season’s final, and they could knock Rafa Benitez’s slowly assembling team out of the competition. Whichever way this match goes, a big team won’t be progressing, and lets hope that it isn’t Inter which goes home from Europe early.
Among all this Champions League talk, I’ve almost forgotten about the horrible draw which Napoli got in the Europa League! Walter Mazzari’s side which barely managed to qualify for the Round of 32 of the Europa League were drawn with Spanish side Villareal. The Spaniards have been doing excellently this season in La Liga, and they’re in third behind – guess who? – Barcelona and Real Madrid. It’s certainly a tough challenge for Napoli, and they’ll truly need to be at their best if they want to progress to the Round of 16. With no other Italian sides left in the competition, lets hope that Napoli show that the Serie A still has much to offer in Europe by overcoming this big initial obstacle.
If you’re interested in seeing the complete Champions League and Europa League draws, you can click here. What are your thoughts regarding the Champions League and Europa League draws? Share your comments below!