If you are ex­pect­ing any sur­prises, you will be com­pletely

Let down

CityPress - - Sport - PETER AUF DER HEYDE sports@city­press.co.za

When the 16 teams re­main­ing in the Uefa Cham­pi­ons League em­bark on the knock­out stages, it will very much be a case of the same old story, as the usual sus­pects have ad­vanced from the group phase.

The first-leg fix­tures of the round of the last 16 will be played mid­week over the next two weeks.

The only club to gate-crash the il­lus­tri­ous party is last sea­son’s sur­prise Premier League win­ners Le­ices­ter City, who seem to have kept all their match-win­ning per­for­mances this sea­son for the lu­cra­tive com­pe­ti­tion.

While the Foxes are strug­gling in the Premier League and are sit­ting per­ilously close to the rel­e­ga­tion zone, they made sure to progress in the Cham­pi­ons League at their first at­tempt be­fore they played their fi­nal game.

Their round of the last-16 match against Sevilla is not one of the stand­out fix­tures, but it will leave both teams cau­tiously op­ti­mistic about making the quar­ter­fi­nals.

A trio of matches is vy­ing for the ti­tle of be­ing the main at­trac­tion of the round: Manchester City vs AS Monaco; Bay­ern Mu­nich vs Ar­se­nal; and Paris St Ger­main vs Barcelona.

The clash be­tween City and Monaco sees two big-spend­ing clubs go­ing head-to-head, with City’s Mid­dle Eastern money tak­ing on the fi­nan­cial mus­cle pro­vided to Monaco by Rus­sian bil­lion­aire Dmitry Ry­bolovlev.

City’s Span­ish coach Pep Guardi­ola is aware that it will not be easy against the French side.

“My im­pres­sion against Paris St Ger­main [Guardi­ola watched the 1-1 draw be­tween the two sides] and what I’ve seen is ... they’re a re­ally strong team; they score a lot of goals; they are phys­i­cal,” he said.

“We have to go to the gym in the next few days!”

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