The Group Stage of the NextGen Series is over and that means we are now certain of the final 16 in the ‘Champions League for youngsters’. After Chelsea drew 3-3 with Ajax on Tuesday in the final game of Group Three the fixtures for the knockout stage are now sorted. Each game will be played over the one leg with extra time and penalties if no winner can be found after 90 minutes.
We cast a quick look over the ties which are due to take place next month.
Paris Saint Germain v Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs face on paper the best team in the competition Group Stages PSG in what will be a tough test for the Young Lilywhites. They had a bizarre Group Stage which saw them thrash Barcelona away before succumbing to Anderlecht at home.
Sporting Lisbon v Liverpool
Aston Villa thrashed Sporting in their last NextGen fixture and the Portuguese side have suffered from their success; seeing the likes of Carlos Mane, Eric Dier and Iuri Medeiros promoted to the first team. Liverpool will fancy their chances of progressing after winning their last three NextGen games.
Inter Milan v Arsenal
Arsenal would have been unhappy with their Group Stage campaign and the result of that is a punishing draw against reigning champions Inter Milan. While the Italians do not look the same standard as last season they certainly appear to be in the mix once again.
Juventus v Rosenborg
Rosenborg have proven that on their day they can beat anyone in this competition. Juventus will need to wary of the Norwegian outfit.
CSKA Moscow v PSV Eindhoven
CSKA Moscow will go into the game with PSV as the undoubted favourites after overcoming the likes of Chelsea and Ajax to win their Group.
Barcelona v Chelsea
Surely the tie of the round has to be Barca v Chelsea. The two senior sides have had some pretty epic clashes on the European stage in recent years and you can be sure the Eurosport cameras will be at this one to see the action.
Olympiakos v Anderlecht
Two of the competitions dark-horses meet in the last 16 and with Olympiakos unbeaten at home while Anderlecht are undefeated on the road this should be an enthralling tie.
Ajax v Aston Villa
The team most would have wanted to avoid would have to be Ajax. Despite finishing second in their group and losing some of their star players to the first-team Villa could have got an easier draw. But after the way they pasted Sporting in the final group game the Dutch side would take Vill lightly at their peril.
Who do you think will make it into the last eight?
image: © mariosp