The draw in Bruges could prove to be costly for Atlético
That draw in Bruges last week that has been analysed so much could be costly for Atlético, after it meant that Simeone's side had to settle for second in their group. In yesterday's draw, Atleti were paired with Juventus in the Round of 16 ties. The Serie A side have won the last seven ‘scudettos’ and during the summer months signed Cristiano to launch an assault on the Champions League. This season, it's no surprise that Allegri's side are flying in the domestic league and remain unbeaten at the top of the table thanks in part to the goals from Cristiano and veteran Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic. It's also true that the Turin based side will be far from happy with the draw as Atlético were clearly the side most teams wanted to avoid from Pot 2.
The tie between the Italian giants and Atleti is certainly mouthwatering. Other ties that caught the eye yesterday are Liverpool's match-up against Bayern and forgetting their current form momentarily, the tie between Manchester United and PSG is also attractive. The games involving Real Madrid and Barcelona are somewhat overshadowed by these games but Madrid will need to be on their toes against one of the most exciting young sides in Europe at present in Ajax. This tie could provide the upset of the round (and we'll wait to see if Florentino decides to acquire striker in the winter market) and it would be foolish to dismiss the side from Amsterdam. As for Barça, with Messi in the side, and playing as they are, I see them as a strong favourite in their tie against Olympique Lyon.
There are four Spanish sides involved in Europa League action and the strong favourite to lift the title in my view is Chelsea. The draw for the LaLiga teams was reasonably benevolent with the Celtic-Valencia tie the first to be drawn. The visit to Glasgow will be tricky but I feel if Valencia can regain their scoring touch should be strong enough to progress. Betis face mid-table French side Rennes and I'm confident that Setiens's men can overcome. The Lazio-Sevilla tie is evenly balanced and could go either way and on current form I fear for Villarreal after they drew Lisbon giants Sporting CP.