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Champions League Preview: Barca Take On Arsenal

Champions League Preview: Barca Take On Arsenal

The first leg matches in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 continue this week, with the teams involved knowing what needs to be done to secure progression to the quarter-final stage of the competition.

Last week saw the first four matches of this round take place, and this week is reserved for the remaining four first leg clashes throughout Europe. We take a closer look at the encounters set for Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

On-form Barca travel to face Arsenal

Barcelona travel to North London on Tuesday night in order to face Arsenal in the first leg of a last 16 tie which will be determined in a second leg in Spain three weeks time.

The Blaugrana seem to be the most feared team at the moment, with their incredible strike force in scintillating form, as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar routinely destroy teams in La Liga with their talent and combined ability.

The Gunners will need to ensure that they get something of value from their Champions League home leg on Tuesday, as anything short of a win or draw would leave them in serious trouble ahead of the second leg. Barca are expected to storm the Emirates and cause problems for the home side this week, but Arsene Wenger’s players will do their best to subdue the incredible attacking talents of the Spanish frontline.


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Arsenal go into this encounter with a few key injuries, with Arteta, Cazorla, Gabriel, Wilshere and Rosicky all missing from the match, while Barcelona do not have the services of Rafinha due to a knee injury and Arda Turan through suspension.

Juve welcome Bayern to Italy

Italian champions Juventus will host German champions Bayern Munich on Tuesday night in a highly anticipated Champions League encounter that is expected to be a fairly well-balanced affair.

Bayern have been in excellent form in the Bundesliga, as have the Bianconeri of Turin, with an amazing run of form that has allowed them to secure 15 Serie A wins in a row before a 0-0 draw at the weekend against Bologna.

The Italians will likely earn a victory on Tuesday night, but narrowly, as the Germans are masters of efficiency and will look to bounce back and secure the tie in their home leg. This first game is crucial, as any decent lead will be difficult to assail in the second leg.

On the injury front for the Germans Boateng, Badstuber and Javi Martinez will be out of action for this match, while Juve have Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Asamoah and Caceres missing due to injury issues.

Mehdi Benatia
Mehdi Benatia – africatopsports.com

Atletico Madrid visiting PSV

Hoping to reach the Champions League final as they did a few seasons ago, Atletico Madrid will pay PSV Eindhoven a visit on Wednesday night for a last 16 clash that will be fundamental to the tie, as an expected victory or draw in Holland will set the Spaniards up for progression to the quarter-finals with a home match in the second leg.

PSV know that the team from the Spanish capital will not play a defensive game on Wednesday, despite their strong defensive record, and they are also aware that they must get something out of their home encounter in order to stand a chance of remaining in the competition going forward.

PSV will be without the services of De Jong through suspension, while Guardado and Lestienne are doubts through injury. For Atleti Carrasco, Partey and Tiago are out of the match due to injury problems.

Citizens in Ukraine for Dynamo clash

Manchester City make the trip to Ukraine on Wednesday for their UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg fixture against Dynamo Kyiv, with confidence that they can carve out a result which will put them in a strong position for the second leg.

Dynamo is aware of this confidence, and they will aim to surprise their English opponents on home turf, with a strong performance and result able to give them an objective in the second leg in Manchester.

The home side will be missing Antunes through suspension, and Morozyik due to a knee problem. Rybka is in doubt through injury, and will require a late decision to determine whether he will make the cut.

Manchester City have numerous injuries to worry about, as De Bruyne, Delph, Navas, Mangala and Nasri will definitely not take part in the encounter because of their injuries, while Bony and Sagna are also in doubt at this stage.