The 2017-18 Champions League campaign promises to be one of the most competitive and most unpredictable in recent years. Some of the group-stage matches have been stunning, and there have already been signs that the knockout rounds could throw some sensational football matches. With the English teams rejuvenated in Europe and the Italian clubs still aiming high, it is not going to be easy to pick the winners even after the draw for the knockout rounds have been made.
Paris Saint-Germain have been the best team in the Champions League and arguably anywhere in Europe, and it is to understand why. Their performances and results in the group stage have been nothing short of sensational, including their Matchday 1 demolition of Bayern Munich in Paris. According to the latest football betting odds, Unai Emery’s side are the favourites for the Champions League with 7/2 in his favour. With players such as Neymar, Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe, Daniel Alves and Angel Di Maria on their books, the Parisian club should be confident of going all the way this season.
PSG’s main threat in their quest for Champions League glory will come from England, specifically Manchester City. Although Tottenham Hotspur have progressed to the last-16 stage, it is hard to envisage a largely inexperienced and youthful team last the distance. Manchester United have a certain Jose Mourinho in charge and will be a threat, but the Red Devils’ aim this season is to win the Premier League title. Chelsea will also fancy their chances, but not many expect them to win the Champions League. On the other hand, the way Manchester City have started the season and are batting away every single challenge thrown their way underlines their credentials.
City are scoring goals for fun, their defence is solid, and in manager Pep Guardiola, they have a coach who has won the Champions League with Barcelona in style. Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and Ederson all are playing well. City’s attacking unit, which also has a certain David Silva, is one of the most potent in Europe, and they have the quality to blow away even the best of teams.
However, the Champions League is not a two-horse race. Real Madrid may be struggling at the moment, but Zinedine Zidane’s side have not won the Champions League for the past two seasons by getting lucky. With the La Liga title now pretty much out of their reach, Los Blancos could well decide to focus all their energy on making it three in a row in Europe.
Barcelona may not have the squad strength of recent years, but the Blaugrana have a certain Lionel Messi. The Argentina international forward is going as strong as ever, and in a World Cup year, he will be determined to win something big with his club. Bayern Munich looked a shambles under Carlo Ancelotti, but Jupp Heynckes has changed the German club. Bayern are running away with the Bundesliga title, and although they have finished second in the group, given the calibre of players that they have, they will fancy their chances of going all the way.