Today is the final day in the first leg of the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League. These final four teams await their fates as they find out who has an advantage, who has a disadvantage and who will be even when it’s all said and done.
Arsenal (3rd in EPL) vs. Monaco (4th in Ligue 1)
Where: Emirates Stadium in London, England
When: 2:00 pregame, 2:45 kickoff on FOX Sports 1 (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish)
How they got here: Arsenal finished 2nd in Group D which consisted of Borussia Dortmund, Anderlecht and Galatasaray. Monaco finished 1st in Group C which consisted of Bayer Leverkusen, Zenit and Benfica.
The Arsene Wenger Derby is taking place in today. The current Arsenal manager used to manage Monaco and when we mention that Arsene Wenger used to manage Monaco, I like to post this pic of Wenger smoking on the Monaco sideline. I can only assume he had a night job as a Bill Gates impersonator as well.
Anyway, to the game. Arsenal will look to advance to the Quarterfinals for the first time in five years. Quite honestly, this is their best chance. Arsenal got rather lucky drawing one of the weaker group winners and I would say Arsenal is the favorite. I see Arsenal winning this 1-0 but it could get interesting if Monaco can score and away goal.
Bayer Leverkusen (6th in Bundesliga) vs. Atletico Madrid (3rd in La Liga)
Where: BayArena in Leverkusen, Germany
When: 2:00 pregame, 2:45 kickoff on FOX Sports 2 (English) and FOX Deportes (Spanish)
How they got here: Bayer Leverkusen finished 2nd in Group C which consisted of Monaco, Zenit and Benfica. Atletico Madrid finished 1st in Group A which consisted of Juventus, Olympiakos and Malmo.
Atletico Madrid is on the fringe of competing for the La Liga title. With Real Madrid and Barcelona multiple games ahead, Atletico is likely out of it. This is why they are going to compete for the Champions League. Atletico has the experience, they got to the Final last year and this is a team that can do it again through their efficiency on defense and their “parking the bus” counter attacking philosophy.
This is going to be a big Atletico Madrid win. Atletico’s big test will be in the later rounds, but they should be able to beat Leverkusen. Madrid wins 2-0.