All of the English sides still in the UEFA Youth League were handed tough matches in the draw yesterday.
So how is each tie likely to pan out and which side has the best chance of making the last eight of the UEFA Youth League?
Chelsea v AC Milan
Chelsea were one of the most impressive teams during the group stage with a perfect record from six games, 18 goals scored and just a single goal conceded.
They have maintained their form from that competition on the under-21 Premier League, which means the confidence will continue to grow over the period leading up to the last 16 match against the Italians.
Milan finished second in their group behind Barcelona with a record which is nowhere near as impressive as Chelsea’s; they have a goal difference of minus one.
Arsenal v Shakhtar Donetsk
The Gunners finished top of their group ahead of Napoli on goal difference and this is a tie which could go either way.
Arsenal had the best attacking and defensive record in their group but they face a side that is very difficult to beat as Manchester United found out during the group stage.
It’s likely to be a very open tie with both sides better in attack than they are at the back. It could come down to the odd goal over 90 minutes of football but certainly don’t expect to see two narrow 1-0 wins or anything similar.
Atletico Madrid v Manchester City
This is one of the most difficult ties to call because of the inconsistency Manchester City have shown this season.
In the Youth League they have produced some great results such as the thrashing of Bayern Munich when the teams met in Manchester but they have struggled domestically, lingering in the bottom half of the under-21 Premier League.
Where City appear to have the edge is defensively because while Atletico Madrid scored an impressive 17 goals in the group stage, they also conceded 14 whereas City only leaked four from six matches.
The best bet to progress with little trouble is Chelsea, followed by City who can edge that tie if they defend properly and professionally. The Arsenal v Shakhtar match up could easily go either way.
image: © geetarchurchy