UEFA Champions League draw: Our semi-final predictions

The business end

We're now entering the business end of this season's Champions League, with the last 16 phase separating the men from the boys. This morning's draw threw up some extremely juicy ties, including an all-English affair which sees Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham take on Pep Guardiola's Manchester City. Elsewhere, Liverpool face Porto for the second time in as many seasons, while Ronaldo faces the side who humbled his previous employers in the last round as Juventus take on Ajax.

The undisputed standout fixture however, will be a repeat of the 2011 final as Manchester United and Barcelona lock horns. The two biggest clubs in world football will battle it out for a space in the elusive semi-finals next month, but who will come out on top when it really matters? We've analysed all four of these mouth watering fixtures and offered our predictions on who we think will progress through to the next round. As always, let us know your thoughts on @FootyAccums.

CL Draw

Ajax vs Juventus

This year's surprise package, Ajax, will be looking to cause another upset when they welcome Serie A champions Juventus to the Johan Cruyff Arena. After pulling off the shock of the competition at the Santiago Bernabéu last week, when a Dusan Tadic brace helped to thrash Los Blancos 4-1 in their own backyard, it would perhaps be foolish to write off the Dutchmen's chances in this tie, though they are huge underdogs here. With players like Tadic and Matthijs de Ligt all in scintillating form right now, alongside the raw talent of Frenkie de Jong in midfield, Ajax possess a real threat here and should they take a foothold in the game in the first leg on home soil, could be in with a real chance of dumping Juve out of the competition.

For the Italians, their main threat needs to introduction. Mr Champions League himself, Cristiano Ronaldo, has the ability to win a match for his side single-handedly, as demonstrated in Tuesday night's demolition of Atletico Madrid. CR7 bagged a hat-trick to cement Juventus' spot in the quarter-finals after the Old Lady found themselves 2-0 down in the first leg, and will be determined to clinch the UCL with his new club at the first time of asking this term. Aside from Ronaldo, Juve also have the likes of Paolo Dybala, Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi at their disposal in attack, while defensively they are extremely solid with the hugely experienced Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci almost impossible to get past.

Our prediction: First leg - 2-1 Juventus, second leg - 2-0 Juventus

Frenkie de Jong

Liverpool vs FC Porto

After last season's demolition of Porto, it looks as though there will be only one winner of this tie. Jurgen Klopp's men dispatched the Portuguese titans 5-0 in the round of 16 last term, and after their scintillating display against Bayern Munich this week, it's hard to look past another convincing victory for the Reds here. Sadio Mane currently finds himself in impressive form, having scored six goals in his last four outings and while Mohamed Salah is experiencing a slight dip in performance at the moment, he's still a world class player who has the capabilities to light up a game in the blink of an eye. Combined, the two scored four of the five goals against Porto last season, with striker Roberto Firmino also getting in on the act late on.

Porto did record an impressive result against Roma in the last round, knocking the Italians out in extra-time to earn a place in the quarter-finals next month. Sérgio Conceição's men yet again find themselves at the top of the Primeira Liga table, level on points with Benfica as things stand, and after suffering just one defeat since mid-February, will take some good momentum into this huge European tie with Liverpool. That said, we think the Reds will be far too strong for them here.

Our prediction: Liverpool win -1 handicap both legs


Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City

And here it is, the all-English Champions League quarter-final clash we were all waiting for - Tottenham vs Manchester City. Having narrowly edged past Spurs in the league already this season, City head into this fixture with the upper-hand, but with the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli both able to step up to the plate in huge matches for their team, the north Londoners stand a great chance of winning this one should they manage to keep a clean sheet in the first leg on home soil. Easier said than done, of course, as the attacking prowess of Pep Guardiola's dominant Sky Blues are proving way too much for any side to handle at the moment, but it's not beyond the realms of possibility. After a convincing 4-0 aggregate win over Borussia Dortmund in the last 16, Spurs look strong in this season's Champions League, but will the occasion once more get the better of them?

There's not too much to say about City, they're just class. Playing fluid, mind-bogglingly good football to such a consistent degree, obliterating everything in their path, how do you stop Guardiola's turquoise army right now? The simple answer is you can't, because they'll find a way past almost any game plan or tactic laid out by the opposition and then stick seven past you for trying to pull a fast one on them. A close fought win over Bundesliga outfit Schalke in the first leg of their last 16 tie was apologetically rectified by the Cityzens as they completely battered the Germans 7-0 in the return leg on Tuesday night, that just shouldn't be happening at this stage of the Champions League, but it did and there was absolutely nothing anyone could do about it. Good luck Poch, got a feeling you'll need it.

Our prediction: First leg - City to win & under 2.5 goals, second leg - City to win & over 2.5 goals

Guardiola - Poch

FC Barcelona vs Manchester United

Football's great, isn't it? What an unbelievable match this promises to be. Messi under the lights of Old Trafford, doing what he does. Pogba at the Nou Camp pulling strings while young Marcus Rashford fearlessly attacks Jordi Alba. Phil Jones shitting himself at the prospect of coming off the bench to defend against Luis Suarez, Ashley Young swallowing a Spanish seagull's poo as he launches a foul-mouthed tirade at the referee following a clear two-footed tackle on Ousmane Dembele. Bliss.

Though the Catalans will be solid favourites here, United have shown the world that they're capable of holding their own against Europe's elite having defied the odds to dump out PSG in the last round. But Messi, you just can't look past him doing a complete madness on the Red Devils, cos lets face it, if he's on song, there's nothing anyone can do about it. A repeat of the 2011 Final, where Barca came out as 3-1 winners, will be watched by millions across the globe next month and we simply can't wait for it. Ole's at the wheel but can he steer United towards the semi-finals? It all remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain - if he can jink his way past the Spaniards here, then there's little preventing United from going the distance this time around.

Our prediction: First leg - Barca to win & BTTS, second leg - draw

United - Barca

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