Tottenham Hotspur have secured their name in the pot for the Champions League round of sixteen draw for the third season in a row.
Just as they were last year, Spurs are among the unseeded teams in pot two, as they finished second to Bayern Munich in their group.
This means that Tottenham have to play a side that topped their own group, although they cannot face any English sides or Bayern Munich who were in Group B with Spurs.
This leaves the Lilywhites with Juventus, PSG, Barcelona, Red Bull Leipzig, and Valencia to play across two legs in the new year for a place in the quarter-finals.
Of course, Spurs made it past Borussia Dortmund with flying colours at this stage last year, beating them 3-0 at home and 1-0 away.
I thought I would rate the potential R16 opponents from best to worst this year:
1 – Valencia: Currently eight in La Liga, Valencia would be by far the most favourable draw for me, especially with Tottenham’s defence struggling as it is. Every other club is flying in their domestic league, so this would be the stand out for me.
2 – Red Bull Leipzig: While many would put Leipzig at the top of their list as they are relatively new names in terms of the latter stages of the Champions League, I am very wary of them. They are currently second in the Bundesliga, far above Bayern Munich, and are just one point off the top of the league. This is a side high on confidence, although the saving grace is that this squad has not been there and done it.
3 – Juventus: The tempo at which Juventus play would best suit Spurs out of the big three, in my opinion. With more emphasis on a solid shape and defence than all-out attack, as well as a bit of an ageing side, I would fancy Tottenham’s chances across two legs with Mourinho at the helm. Just watch out for Dybala.
4 – PSG: A fierce side with some of the best players in world football, but they do have a history of bottling it in the Champions League knockout rounds. This side, with the money and players at their disposal, should be knocking on the door of the trophy every year, yet they never do.
5 – Barcelona: One of my favourites for the competition as a whole and they look deadly this season. We saw what they did to Spurs at Wembley the last time the two sides faced and Messi on his day is just too hot to handle. Best avoided for now, I think.
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