UEFA Champions League Last-16 Draw: The Five Main Talking Points

Holder Real Madrid was drawn against Paris St Germain in the standout tie from Monday's (December 11) Champions League last-16 draw while Barcelona will take on Chelsea.

Real, bidding for a 13th title and third in a row, finished runner-up in Group H and paid the price with an extremely tough draw against the big-spending Parisian club.

Last season's runner-up Juventus will meet Tottenham Hotspur, one of five English clubs still in the competition. Runaway Premier league leader Manchester City, which has never won Europe's biggest club prize, will face Swiss club Basel.

Five-times winner Bayern Munich was drawn with Turkish outsider Besiktas, Manchester United take on Sevilla and Liverpool will meet Porto.

AS Roma's reward for winning its group was a two-legged tie against Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk.

Champions League Trophy
Champions League trophy at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, December 11. The draw for the last-16 stage was made on Monday. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty

The first legs take place on February 13-14 and February 20-21 with the returns on March 6-7 and March 13-14. Here, Newsweek takes a look at the five main talking points from the draw:

Guardiola's City Already in Quarterfinal

Well, that is according to the Euro Club Index, anyway. Manchester City, the dominant force in England, has the simplest route to the last eight teams in the competition having been drawn against FC Basel. And while it would be remiss to assume that Guardiola's team will consume the Swiss club in the same way it has done most other teams this season, that is exactly what the Euro Club Index's calculator is telling us. Guardiola's team has an 86 percent chance of knocking Basel out of the competition, according to the Index, while Liverpool is at 64 percent up against Porto and Manchester United is on 59 percent as it faces Sevilla. The lowest percentage of progression goes to Chelsea (23 percent) after being drawn against Barcelona, while Tottenham has a 34 percent chance against Juventus.

Not All Doom and Gloom For Blues

The fingers were crossed for Besiktas. Paris-Saint Germain may even have been preferable. But, no, it is Barcelona which stands in the way of Chelsea and a place in the quarterfinals. "Well, that's Chelsea out," was the message across social media in the moments after the draw. Yet Eden Hazard's confident words last week—"We are Chelsea; we can beat anyone"—may be drawn from a look back at the club's recent record against the La Liga giant. Barcelona has not managed to beat Chelsea in seven games, 630 minutes of football shared between the Camp Nou and Stamford Bridge. It was February 2006 the last time Barcelona won this fixture, with Samuel Eto'o's late goal knocking Jose Mourinho's team out at the last-16 stage. Lionel Messi was a mere 19 years old at the time.

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte at the London Stadium, London, December 9. Conte's team was drawn against Barcelona. Richard Heathcote/Getty

Neymar On His Way to Real Madrid

Expect the rumours to be notched up to another level over the next three months. The noises coming out of the Spanish capital over recent weeks are that Real Madrid is keen on bringing Neymar Jr. to the Bernabeu. It may be less than six months since he completed the staggering £199 million world-record move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain but there is already a call for him to return to La Liga. Last week, Real president Florentino Perez suggested he could only win the Ballon d'Or if he became a Galactico, a potential successor for five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo. Expect Real to flutter its eyelashes at the Brazilian even more in the lead up to the blockbuster fixture of the round.

Pochettino Gets His Wish

Tottenham could have been drawn against FC Basel. It could have been put up against a softened Sevilla. Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk was in the pot. FC Porto, too. The odds on Mauricio Pochettino's team advancing to the final eight was high as it looked to avoid just Bayern Munich and Juventus. But, then, Xavi Alonso pulled Juventus out of the pot, last year's runner-up and a two-time winner. Yet that, according to Pochettino, was exactly what he wanted. After beating Real Madrid at the group stage, the Argentine coach believed his team would be motivated by being drawn against a giant. "You can see the game against Real Madrid," Pochettino said. "I prefer to play against a team that will motivate everyone rather than a team all people say you will beat easily, then it gets complicated." Be careful what you wish for, Mauricio.

Is Liverpool a Certainty?

Jurgen Klopp could not have been much more pleased with the draw. Against Porto, Liverpool will expect to be in the quarter final by March with the attacking talent in his team. But Porto manager Sergio Conceicao will be well aware of Liverpool's shortcomings this season. At times, Klopp's team has shown a sense of complacency. Away against Sevilla in the group stage, Liverpool led 3-0 at half-time but flew back to England with just a point after letting the lead slip. On Sunday, despite dominating in the Merseyside derby, a mistake allowed Everton to draw the game. Mistakes occur too often in the Liverpool team; and the Champions League is not a very forgiving place. Liverpool's attack may strike fear into teams, but its defense will offer hope.