After a rip-roaring round of 16, the line-up for the Champions League quarterfinals was confirmed this morning.
Given the quality of the teams remaining in the competition, we always knew we were going to be in store for some more sensational ties in the last eight. But with the draw finalized, supporters can start gearing up for the big games whilst the managers and players can start plotting how they’re going to get their hands “Ol’ Big Ears” in Lisbon on Saturday, May 24.
Here we’ve taken a look at each of the quarterfinal ties and try to predict who’ll make it into the semifinal stage.
Disagree!? I’m sure you do, feel free to leave your comments below and let us know who you think will progress from each of the four double-headers…
Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid
The first two names out the hat formed an all-Spanish tie of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, and this clash certainly has the potential to be the tie of the round.
The blaugrana have been a little unconvincing as of late and resultantly, you’d think Atletico might fancy their chances in this one. Diego Simeone’s side are set up perfectly from a stylistic point of view to play against Barcelona. They’ll be aggressive and relentless in their pressing, hoping to give Tata Martino’s side as little time on the ball as possible and prevent Barca from establishing that dangerous passing carousel.
This all-action off the ball mantra worked well when these two met in La Liga earlier in the campaign, but whilst Atleti were able to nudge Barca out of their stride, they were unable to create all too many clear-cut opportunities for themselves, the game finishing in a 0-0 draw. They’ll need Diego Costa to continue his remarkable run of form in this competition—which has seen him net seven goals in five outings per Who Scored?—if they are to progress.
If Atletico can restrict passes coming into the feet of Lionel Messi, something that they should be able to do better than any other side in the competition, then they have a brilliant chance of knocking out the four time champions. Simeone must make sure his Colchoneros side are still in the tie after the first leg at the Nou Camp, then a raucous Vicente Calderon crowd can potentially roar them on to victory.
From a tactical perspective, Atleti are one of the worst teams Barcelona could have drawn in the last eight. Messi could weave his magic and drag Barca through, but I’m going for the Madrid side to progress into the last four.