The UEFA Champions League (UCL) quarter-final draw is finally here. The major talking point from the draw is the clash between Chelsea and Real Madrid as well as that of Manchester City and Bayern Munich.
— Crisp Nigeria (@crispnigeria) March 17, 2023
CRISPNG examines the winners and losers of the draw.
Napoli — Victor Osimhen’s side has been a force to reckon with this season. They will face Stefano Pioli’s AC Milan. Based on current form, Napoli are the favourite to win the game.
“Napoli will see off AC Milan. There is no hope for Pioli’s side,” Israel Igiri, a sports analyst, said.
Benfica — Like Napoli, Benfica are having a phenomenal season and scoring plenty goals in the process. Against a struggling Inter Milan side, they have the edge to advance into the semi-final on paper.
“Benfica have enough fire power to defeat Inter Milan. The Portuguese side have been monstrous this season. Inter Milan survived Porto by the skin of their teeth but there will be no hiding place for them against Benfica who score goals for fun,” Israel added.
Real Madrid — There is simply no stopping at the moment for Real Madrid in this year’s Champions League. Against Chelsea, the defending champions will be hoping to retain the trophy again this season.
On paper, they are among the lucky winners of the quarter-final draw considering their heroics in the competition this season and in recent years. Chelsea may be on their way back to top form but they still have a long way to go. This is an advantage for Real Madrid.
However, if history is anything to go by, it would not be a walk in the part for the Spanish side.
Both teams have met four times in the competition before with Chelsea winning two and drawing one. Real Madrid only won once against the English side in the Champions League and that makes it a tricky tie for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
“It’s very tricky tie,” Israel said.
“I’ll say 60-40 in favour of Madrid if we are to consider the European pedigree of both teams. Real are the kings of the Champions League. However, Chelsea have a better head-to-head record over Real Madrid. That should be taken into consideration.
“Chelsea have a way of making life difficult for the biggest teams on the continent.
It is a close call. I’ll tilt towards Madrid slightly. Their experience and form should see them eliminate Chelsea. However, I won’t be surprised if Chelsea knock them out. Currently, I’ll say it’s 55-45 in favour of Madrid.”
Chelsea — Chelsea may have good history against Real Madrid but meeting them at this stage of the competition is not what many fans of the team want to see.
It is probably the biggest test for Graham Potter so far and how he responds will determine the progress of his team in the competition.
This has to be Pep Guardiola’s year in the Champions League. Since he left Barcelona, he has not won the coveted gong, raising concerns among some of his fans.
With the arrival of Erling Haaland, City stand a chance of winning the trophy this year but a quarter-final against Bayern poses a big threat to that ambition.
Commenting on this, Israel described the draw as “the pick of the pack”.
“Bayern vs Manchester City. The most balanced tie on paper. There will be reunion for Joao Cancelo, Leroy Sane and City,” he said.
“Bayern can score goals and can keep things tight at the back against the big boys as seen in their games against Barcelona, Inter, and PSG so far (none of these teams found the back of the net against Bayern).
“City can score goals but defensively, they are more vulnerable that Bayern. We’ll see loads of goals in this tie. Who goes through: I honestly don’t know. It’s a 50-50 game. A close one to call.”