CHRIS SUTTON's guide to the Champions League final eight as reigning champions Man City go up against Real Madrid… and who will come out on top in the Europa League?
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CHRIS SUTTON's guide to the Champions League final eight as reigning champions Man City go up against Real Madrid… and who will come out on top in the Europa League?

Apr 27, 2024

With UEFA set to shake up the Champions League knockout format from next season, it seemed like there was even more riding on this year’s quarter-final draw – and the tournament certainly delivered with a series of tantalising fixtures.

Reigning champions Manchester City knocked out Spanish giants Real Madrid en route to the final last season and they’ll have to do so again to lift the trophy this campaign, having drawn Carlo Ancelotti‘s side in the last eight.

Meanwhile, Arsenal‘s prize for edging past Porto on penalties is a meeting with Harry Kane‘s Bayern Munich – and Barcelona will have to get the better of Kylian Mbappe before the PSG star’s expected move to their archrivals Real Madrid in the summer.

Finally, in another close affair, Atletico Madrid will face off against Borussia Dortmund after triumphing over last season’s finalists Inter Milan on penalties.

Mail Sport’s Chris Sutton takes a look at each of the fixtures – plus the Europa League ties – and predicts who he thinks will prevail in what promises to be a special knockout stage.

The draw for the Champions League quarter-finals and semi-finals has been made

The draw for the Champions League quarter-finals and semi-finals has been made

Mail Sport's Chris Sutton takes a look at the knockout ties and predicts who will prevail

Mail Sport’s Chris Sutton takes a look at the knockout ties and predicts who will prevail

Real Madrid v Man City

Who needs the European Super League

We’ve got the heavyweight clashes we want right here and it hardly gets bigger than the 14-time winners of this competition facing the holders. 

It suits City that they will play at the Bernabeu first and then the Etihad second — just like last season, when they followed up a 1-1 draw away with a 4-0 thumping at home.

Though they have Jude Bellingham, I’m not convinced Real are the force they were. They are still waiting for Kylian Mbappe to rock up as their latest Galactico to take them to the next level. City should win this. 

Verdict — Manchester City to win

It suits Man City that they will play at the Bernabeu first and then the Etihad second

Real Madrid have Jude Bellingham but it might not be enough to get them past Man City

Real Madrid have Jude Bellingham but it might not be enough to get them past Man City

Arsenal v Bayern Munich 

In years gone by, you would fear for Arsenal after being drawn with Bayern Munich — like in 2017, when they were annihilated 10-2 on aggregate in the Champions League knockout stages. 

Now, it is the other way around. Bayern should be the intimidated ones, cursing John Obi Mikel for reaching into that orb of doom and drawing them against the Premier League leaders. 

Harry Kane will try his best to score his way into the semi-finals of a competition that could save his side’s season, given Bayern don’t look like winning the Bundesliga, but I fancy the consistency of Arsenal over two legs. 

Verdict — Arsenal to win.

Harry Kane will try his best to score his way into the semi-finals of a competition that could save his side’s season

Harry Kane will try his best to score his way into the semi-finals of a competition that could save his side’s season

Arsenal will have to find a way past Bayern Munich to make it to the semi-finals

Arsenal will have to find a way past Bayern Munich to make it to the semi-finals

Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund 

It is never ideal facing Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, who are the masters of s***housery, and I suspect their tricks will help them sneak this one over two legs.

Verdict — Atletico Madrid to win

Barcelona v PSG 

Historically these have been thrilling ties, like 2017 when PSG won the first leg 4-0 before Barcelona won the second 6-1. This time, Kylian Mbappe should see the French side through.

Verdict — Paris Saint-Germain to win.

Kylian Mbappe has been tasked with taking PSG to the final four of the Champions League

Kylian Mbappe has been tasked with taking PSG to the final four of the Champions League

EUROPA LEAGUE 

Liverpool v Atalanta

Jurgen Klopp must be thrilled. In truth, I cannot see any other club winning the Europa League than Liverpool. 

They’ve used their boys well and now the men are returning from injury in time for the quadruple chase. it will take something special from Atalanta to stop them from scoring their way into the semi-finals.

Verdict — Liverpool to win.

I cannot see any other club winning the Europa League than Liverpool this season

I cannot see any other club winning the Europa League than Liverpool this season

Bayer Leverkusen v West Ham 

THE GERMANS play expansive and entertaining football under Xabi Alonso and will look to control possession. 

That might suit West Ham, who can use the counter-attack and their pace. Despite that, I suspect this is where West Ham’s European adventure will end.

Verdict — Bayer Leverkusen to win

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