With four Premier League teams in the last eight of the Champions League, there was always a strong chance of an all English tie. And that’s exactly what has been served up, with Tottenham and Manchester City drawn against each other.
Last year’s losing finalists Liverpool have been dealt what looks to be the most favourable hand, a tie against Porto, the 100/1 outsiders to win the competition.
Manchester United on the other hand face the daunting prospect of Barcelona and Lionel Messi, with the first leg at Old Trafford before the return in the Nou Camp.
The draw has also kept alive the mouthwatering prospect of a Lionel Messi versus Critsiano Ronaldo final, with Juventus paired with Ajax in the fourth and final quarter-final tie.
Tottenham vs Man City
This pairing in the quarter-finals means Spurs and Man City will lock horns three times in just eleven days, with a Premier League clash at the Ethiad immediately after the Champions League double header.
City have won each of their last three meetings with Spurs, Sergio Aguero has 10 goals in his last 10 games against the north Londoners and with their quadruple hopes still firmly alive, Manchester City’s squad strength should see them progress from this tie.
Manchester United vs Barcelona
These two sides have serious history in the Champions League. Their last two meetings have come in the final of the competition in 2008/09 and 2010/11. Barcelona won both and despite United’s resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Catalans will be firm favourites to be victorious once again.
United need no forewarning but Messi has scored 22 goals against English opponents in the Champions League, more than any other player in the competition. It’ll take some defensive effort from the Red Devils to stop the Argentine adding to his tally.
Liverpool vs Porto
He’d never admit it, but Jurgen Klopp would surely have been hoping for Porto before the draw was made. After all, as recently as February of last year, the Merseysiders won 5-0 in the Estadio do Dragao in the Champions League round of 16. The Reds are arguably a stronger side now and laid down a real marker with their performance in beating Bayern Munich in the last round.
Porto of course have pulled off their fair share of shocks at Europe’s top table in the past, but since they famously defied the odds to lift the trophy in 2004, the Portuguese have failed to get past the quarter-finals in any of their 13 campaigns. That run looks unlikely to end this time around.
Ajax vs Juventus
The reward for Ajax after their humbling of Real Madrid in the last 16 is a tie against Juventus and a certain Ronaldo. The Old Lady have a massive lead in Serie A and will have their sights fixed firmly on a first Champions League title since 1996, when they defeated none other than Ajax in the final.
It will take a performance of similar quality from Ajax to that which they produced in the Bernabeu if they are going to prevent the Italians from making the semi-finals. But with Ronaldo on song, it’s hard to oppose Juventus in this one.