Arsenal and Manchester City paid a heavy price for finishing second in their Champions League groups when they drew Bayern Munich and Barcelona, respectively in the last 16 of the competition.
The other English clubs, having topped their groups, have, on paper at least, been handed easier ties. Manchester United will play Olympiakos, while Chelsea will face an old friend in Didier Drogba as they were drawn against Galatasaray.
For Arsène Wenger’s team it will be a repeat of last season’s meeting in the last 16, when the eventual winners eliminated the English team on the away goals rule. Bayern won the first game at the Emirates 3-1 before losing 2-0 at home with Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny getting the goals for the visitors, the latter with four minutes of the tie remaining. Since then, Bayern have swapped Jupp Heynckes for Pep Guardiola but have not stopped winning. They are unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season, although they did lose that final Champions League group game against Manchester City last week.
City’s last-16 draw, meanwhile, will cause further scrutiny of Manuel Pellegrini’s concession that he was unaware another goal at Bayern Munich would have won the group phase and avoided playing a side of the Catalan club’s status. City beat Bayern 3-2 in last week’s final group match, after coming from 2-0 down after the opening 12 minutes. But Pellegrini later admitted he did not know a fourth goal would have pushed the holders into second place and allow his team to win their section.
While there was no guarantee that City would have managed a fourth strike, finishing second in the group meant they would face one of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain or Borussia Dortmund in Monday morning’s draw in Nyon.
While Pellegrini has dryly laughed off his ignorance by apologising for not being able to score four goals at the home of the European champions, privately he may feel otherwise. The manager was due to speak at a press conference early on Monday afternoon, ahead of Tuesday’s Capital One Cup quarter-final at Leicester City, where he was expected to offer his reaction to drawing the four-times European Cup winners.
Champions League last 16 draw in full
Manchester City v Barcelona
Arsenal v Bayern Munich
Olympiakos v Manchester United
Milan v Atlético Madrid
Bayer Leverkusen v Paris Saint-Germain
Galatasaray v Chelsea
Schalke 04 v Real Madrid
Zenit St Petersburg v Borussia Dortmund
Source : The Guardian