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Ultimate Champions League Knockout Stage Preview

Here is the beerbellysoccer.com preview of all the match ups in the Champions League Knockout Stage. More info on all the teams and the league draw can be found here: https://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/draws/

Borussia Monchengladbach vs Manchester City

Make no mistake; this is going to be a very competitive match up. Manchester City has not been on a great run of form throughout the course of this season. Monchengladbach on the other hand looks like a team that has the ability to make a deeper run in the Champions League than expected. This is definitely a match up that the neutral supporter will want to keep a very close eye on.

Lazio vs Bayern Munich

Lazio has done very well up to this point in making it to the knockout stages. On the other hand, Bayern Munich may be considered the favorites to win the whole tournament. It is going to take a mighty effort from Lazio to make it through to the quarterfinals but stranger things have happened.

Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea

This has the makings of a very competitive match up. Atletico Madrid had to sneak through the group stages off the back off a few draws. Chelsea was able to dominate their group as they finished at the top with 14 points. But even with the differing form, this one should be very close. Atletico always has a very stingy defense under head coach Diego Simeone. But at the same time, Chelsea has one of the more exciting attacks in the world, led by Timo Werner. This could lead to a very exciting back and forth between the two teams.

RB Leipzig vs Liverpool

Coming off one of their most successful seasons in recent memory, Liverpool were considered one of the favorites to win the Champions League this year. Unfortunately they’ve had to deal with tough injuries that have left them vulnerable. This RB Leipzig side will look to take advantage of this and push on to the quarterfinals. It may seem strange, but don’t forget that Leipzig made it all the way to the semis just last season. They are definitely a capable side that could make a deep run.

FC Porto vs Juventus

Juventus has not been quite as dominant as they usually are in league play. It’s fair to wonder if that could carry over to their Champions League form. Although most would pick them as the easy favorites to move on, FC Porto could cause some problems. Porto played strong in the group stages and will look to bring the same form into the knockout stages.

FC Barcelona vs PSG

Two of the biggest clubs in world football at the moment, this will assuredly be an exciting match up. There had been rumors floating around for the past year that Neymar would be making his move back to Spain. But the move never ended up coming together. So now we get to see two of the most exciting players in Lionel Messi and Neymar face up against each other. It’s hard to say who the favorite really is at this point but from a neutral perspective this is must watch football.

Sevilla vs Borussia Dortmund

Sevilla has been absolutely dominant in the Europa league in recent years. Could this be the year that they turn that dominance into the Champions League? It seems doubtful that it will happen this year. Dortmund has one of the most exciting teams in the world at the moment. They may also have the most wanted player in the world with Erling Haaland. Haaland has been a dominant force, even at a young age. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see Dortmund make it through quite comfortably.

Atalanta vs Real Madrid

This is probably the strangest match up out of the Champions League draw. Atalanta have easily been one of the most exciting teams in the world with their strong attacking play style. But Real Madrid has the pedigree as the most successful team in Champions League history. It’s very difficult to even make a prediction for the outcome of this match up. For now it seems like Madrid will make it through, but it should be closer than most expect.

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Premier League

What is going on in the Premier League: Table Update

Over the last few seasons it seemed like there were a few teams who would separate themselves early in the season as the true contenders. The usual suspects include Liverpool, and Manchester City, amongst some of the other teams in the normal top 6. Through 6-7 games this season that is definitely not the case. Here at Beer Belly Soccer, we’ll be delving into the current table and discussing what is going on in the Premier League.

Liverpool

At the top of the table through 7 games is Liverpool. While they are considered the odds on favorite to win the league, this season has not quite gone as planned. A gigantic injury to Virgil Van Dijk has left a major hole in the center of their defense. So while Liverpool’s offense looks just as dangerous as ever, they have been leaking goals in defense. A possible move in the January transfer window for a replacement center back could be exactly what they need to secure the title.

Manchester City

As with Liverpool, Manchester City has been having problems in defense since Vincent Kompany left the team. Guardiola’s squad hopes that the recent signing of Ruben Dias will prove to be vital as he looks to form a solid partnership with Aymeric Laporte. Currently in 10th with a game in hand, they will be looking for better performances from here on out.

Leicester City

Could we be in for a repeat of the 2015-2016 in which Leicester surprised everyone to finish with the title? They have looked to be one of the strongest teams in the Premier League this season and currently find themselves only 1 point off of 1st. If they can continue to push forward and bring in a few signings in January, we could be looking at a future title winning team.

Tottenham

Tottenham find themselves in a strange position as this point in the season. In 3rd place with 7 games played, they seem to be one of the stronger teams at the moment. But they have struggled to close out games, already dropping points that they should be easily retaining. As long as they can stay near the top, the hope is that Jose Mourinho will sort everything out in time for Tottenham to be considered a real contender.

Chelsea

The team who strengthened the most over the course of the summer, are currently in 7th place and 4 points off the lead. It was always a worry that bringing in this many new faces would take some time to gel, and that seems to be the main problem so far. In terms of talent, Chelsea may have the most impressive team in the Premier League. It will be up to Frank Lampard to get everybody onto the same page and make a strong push to the top.

Best of the Rest

There is only 6 points separating 13th placed Crystal Palace from 1st placed Liverpool, so in theory any team in the top 13 can consider themselves a contender. Of the teams not listed above; Arsenal, Everton, Wolves, and Aston Villa seem most likely to at least challenge for European spots. Aston Villa may be the most surprising of the group, as they sit only 4 points off the lead with a game in hand. With the right amount of consistency, any of these 4 teams could make a serious run for the title in a year without any dominant teams.

You can find the updated Premier League table at the Premier League’s official website, linked here: https://www.premierleague.com/tables