Uefa Champions League: Dream Knockout Matches
Mitchell Gunn-USA TODAY Sports
With the Champions League draw just a few days away there is the prospect of a few mouth watering clashes on the horizon.
If the Football gods are in a good mood they will provide us with an early Christmas treat with the draw of the last 16.
This slideshow will highlight some of these potential matches that will not only be even but exciting at the same time.
PSG vs Arsenal
Can he destroy English opposition yet again?
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PSG have enjoyed a comfortable Champions League campaign thus far but they have yet to face a real test of their European credentials. If there is a team that can test that will be the ever present Arsenal. This year makes it 13 years in a row that Arsenal have qualified for the last 16.
This may not be the same Arsenal team of previous years but with the additions of Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, Arsenal will be a threat to any team going forward. Not to forget the fact that Jack Wilshere will be the driving force in that midfield once again and against the sheer pace of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, PSG will need to be at their best to navigate a potential round of 16 clash against Arsenal.
Should these two meet in the last 16 it should be two pulsating matches with plenty of goals.
Manchester United vs Real Madrid
The Prodigal Son Returns?
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All the football purists can just see this happening. Cristiano Ronaldo making his first return to Old Trafford after his world record £80 million move to Real Madrid. It will also be interesting to see how the United faithful will treat Ronaldo on his return. But no matter what response he gets, the two matches between these two sides would be anything but titanic.
With Jose Mourinho already dismissing his teams chances of winning La Liga this season, he will be doing everything in his power to claim Champions League glory in what could be his final season with Madrid.
Sir Alex Ferguson has always had a special place in his heart for the Champions League and would desperately want to win it once again even if it means disposing of a respected rival and friend in the game.
Managers aside, both teams have a huge plethora of attacking talent with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the likes of Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil into battle against the potent strike force of Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie backed up by the potent little pea Javier Hernandez.
This match will surely be the tie of the round.
Bayern Munchen vs AC Milan
Ready to take centre stage
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This would be another clash between two European giants and another one that should be evenly matched.
With the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to PSG in the summer, many thought that Milan would struggle this season. Although this may somewhat be the case, they have found somebody to take the mantle, vacated by Ibrahimovic, in Stephan El Shaarawy. El Shaarawy has scored 16 goals in all competitions this season and is making a huge name for himself.
With Milan qualifying 2nd out of a tricky group there is always a chance that they will be paired with a big name and there are a few who are bigger than Bayern Munchen. Bayern have swept all aside this season, finishing first in their group. They have also amassed a healthy lead in the Bundesliga.
This is a team that will take some stopping with the likes of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Mario Gomez causing all types of trouble.
A clash between these two teams could potentially be a mouth watering tie.
Shaktar Donetsk vs Malaga CF
Living the dream
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Both Malaga and Shaktar have exceeded expectations this season with Malaga finishing top in a group that included AC Milan and big spending Zenit. Considering that their owners have practically bailed on them meaning that they had to sell many of their stars, including Santi Cazorla to Arsenal, the fact that they were able to win their group is nothing short of a footballing fairytale.
Shaktar on the other hand disposed of Champions League holders Chelsea to navigate through a difficult group which also included the resurgent old lady, Juventus. Both teams believe in an attacking philosophy so a match up between these two sides should provide everybody with plenty of excitement and drama.
Borussia Dortmund vs Celtic FC
Can they keep Parkhead rocking?
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Who can forget that epic night when Celtic, against all odds, defeated Lionel Messi's Barcelona. It should not come as that much of a surprise considering Celtic's impressive home record. When Parkhead is rocking it sounds like a rock concert on a football pitch.
However if there is one team who knows and can probably handle a raucous crowd it is Borussia Dortmund. The Dortmund fans are probably some of the most passionate fans around in Europe, with their fans following their team where ever they go.
Not only do Dortmund have some of the best fans in Europe they also have one of the best teams in Europe as well. After finishing first in the dreaded group of death beating both Madrid and Manchester City along the way, Borussia Dortmund have now been installed as second favourites behind Barcelona to win the Champions League.
One thing I will say is that it is easy to win games when you are the underdogs but its another thing to win when you are favourites. That is something that Manchester City could not handle for the past two years in this competition.
If Dortmund starts to suddenly feel the pressure and fail to perform to the best of their ability, then another shock upset could be on the cards in Parkhead which could set up an interesting return clash back in Germany.
Conclusion and Honorable Mentions
The Old Lady will be a force to be reckoned with
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I considered match ups for both Juventus and Barcelona to be involved in. An interesting one that sprung to mind was Juventus vs Real Madrid. The last time these two sides met at this stage of the competition it went all the way to extra time where Juventus just edged out their Spanish counterparts.
Of course any match with Barcelona would be a classic. Another Arsenal vs Barcelona match would be an interesting watch as well as Barcelona vs AC Milan.
No matter what match ups we get on the 20 we are bound to get some interesting clashes.