Given the season that Manchester City have had so far this season, the Premier League would appear to be a fait accompli, with the battle for the top 4 and relegation survival looking like the only competitions remaining. That leaves us then, to consider just how well our English teams will do in this year’s Champions League. After years of being left behind by the likes of Dortmund, Atletico, Juve, Real, Barca and Bayern, English teams look set to stamp their mark on the European Cup once again as all 5 English clubs reached the last 16 of the tournament.
Each year I like to have a flutter when it gets to the last 16, on who will win the competition overall, and this year I have found it difficult to predict. Many bookies offer a bonus code which allows you to have a punt without spending your own cash, and the Champions League seems like the perfect place to put your stake, let’s have a look who’s most likely to win the big one.
Man City are of course the favorites of all English clubs to win the European Cup this year, given the fact that they’ve blown the Premier League away. City have a relatively simple tie against FC Basel in the last 16 and given the wealth of experience that Guardiola has in the competition, he could be the man to change City’s fortune in the European Cup. Only a fool would discount the likes of De Bruyne, Aguero, Sterling and Sane in winning this year’s big prize.
If Chelsea can overcome a tough tie against Barca in the last 16, they would surely propel themselves to become the favorites to win the whole thing. The domestic form of Conte’s men is not what it was last year but with Hazard, Morata coming into rich veins of form, new signings Barkley and Drinkwater settling in and the powerful Kante martialling midfield, this could be the year that Chelsea reclaim the trophy, just the small matter of Messi and Suarez to deal with first.
Since doing the impossible in Istanbul back in 2005, Liverpool have never really had a chance in the competition, until now. Jurgen Klopp’s men are free scoring and in spite of the loss of Philippe Coutinho, they still have plenty of firepower in Mane, Firmino and of course the re-born Mo Salah. Defensive frailties were an issue but with £75 million Virgil Van Dijk joining in January, Liverpool could well have fixed this issue. Expect the Reds to get to the semis, more than that could be a stretch too far.
Jose Mourinho has won this competition with Inter and Porto, with decidedly worse squads than he has now, add to that his success in last year’s Europa League and you really wouldn’t bet against him lifting this year’s trophy. United have invested very heavily and given that they last 16 tie is against Sevilla, they look set to march into the next round. New signing Alexis Sanchez will breathe much needed new life into the team as they seek to life this coveted trophy. If the draw is kind, there is no reason United can’t get to the final.
What Pochettino has built at Spurs has been remarkable and players such as Kana, Alli, Alderweireld and Son Heung Min deserve a piece of silverware. Unfortunately however, and despite trumping Real Madrid in the group of death, this competition may have just come too early for the Spurs project. Spurs could very well beat Juve in the last 16 but any further than quarters or semis will be a push for this young team.
Where does your money go for who will win the competition?