NextGen Series have reached it’s knockout phase as the league games ended yesterday with Chelsea and Ajax playing in the final fixture.
The round of 16 fixtures looks promising and have some interesting matches to look forward to. Here is the fixture list.
Barcelona v Chelsea, PSG V Tottenham, CSKA Moscow v PSV Eindhoven, Sporting v Liverpool, Inter Milan v Arsenal, Olympiacos v Anderlecht, Ajax V Aston Villa, Juventus v Rosenborg.
Barcelona v Chelsea
Barcelona were looked as the major contenders before the start of the competition. when on form they are incredibly tough to beat and with Samper holding the middle of the pitch combining with the bags of pace on the attack, they’ll be an opponent feared by every side. However they were turned over by Tottenham earlier in the tournament which will prove to be an inspiration for Chelsea to try and knockout the Catalans. Chelsea got through to the knockout stages as a best placed runner up and whilst they have some good players in the squad the balance of power tends to remain in favour of Barca.
Team to go through – Barcelona.
PSG V Tottenham
Tottenham are clear favourites in this one. Having a world class senior team, PSG have failed to invest in their academy. It’s even impressive that the French side have managed to come so far but it will be a daunting task for them to knock out Spurs who are clearly this season’s dark horses. They have the potentials to make it all way to the finals. Players like Pritchard, Coulthirst and Coulibaly have been some of the stand out players in the tournament and will give even the toughest of teams a real run for their money. Thrown out of the competition last year for fielding an ineligible player last year, the London club will be hoping to reach as far as possible.
Team to go through – Tottenham Hotsuprs.
CSKA Moscow v PSV Eindhoven
On paper CSKA have a better team and coupled with the home advantage they will have the edge over PSV. Both the teams were average on their way to the knock out stages and there no clear favorites from this fixture.
Team to go through – CSKA Moscow.
Sporting Lisbon v Liverpool
Sporting will certainly have the edge over Liverpool. They have the all important attacking flair and passing ability in their game coupled with some physical presence which will be difficult for Liverpool to overcome even with their captain, Coady available in their armory. Coady is currently the highest scorer in the NextGen Series and has carried them throughout the series. If Liverpool defend well and retain possession, they will be in with a chance otherwise Sporting will run away with the game.
Team to go through – Sporting Lisbon.
Inter Milan V Arsenal
Inter Milan, the defending champions should see this game through as they will be too good for the North Londoners. Inter have only lost a couple of games in all competitions this season and are both technically and tactically strong than their opponents. For Arsenal, players like Gnarby, Akpom along with goal keeper Reice Charles-Cook have to take matters in their own hands and give their best to over come the Italian side.
Team to go through – Inter Milan.
Olympiacos v Anderlecht
Olympiacos looked average in their game against Arsenal and were not totally impressive in the group stages. Judging by the teams, Anderlecht looks to be a better bet than the Greek side and will have the edge over them though the match is held in Greece. Michael Heylan, the Anderlecht centre-back was the most impressive player for the Beligum side and clearly the best centre half of the tournament. He will add the much needed steel to the back-line for the travelling team.
Team to go through – Anderlecht.
Ajax v Aston Villa
Ajax started the tournament as one of the favourites to win this season but with Viktor Fischer (joint top scorer) making the step up to the first team their chance have certainly gone down. Despite only playing 2 of the 6 games, he is still the tournament’s joint top scorer. Aston Villa are as good as Ajax are, but the Dutch side will have the upper hand in the game. Villa will be restricted to fewer chances and their hit-man Drennan will have to be at his absolute best if the English team are to get any joy. Drennan, has been in superb for Aston Villa this term scoring five goals in the campaign so far.
Team to go through – Ajax.
Juventus v Rosenborg
Juventus are the only team who went the entire group stage undefeated, picking up 3 wins and 3 draw. With three talents in the name of Magnusson, Bonatini and Padovan in their side, the Italians will be difficult to overcome. Although Rosenborg have performed quite well so far, they will not stand a chance against the might Italian side unless a miracle happens.
Team to go through – Juventus.