North West clubs happy with last-16 ties
Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool will be relatively content after being paired with Basel, Sevilla and Porto respectively in the draw for trhe last 16 of the Champions League.
Chelsea were handed the toughest test in the draw as they were paired with five-times European champions Barcelona.
Having finished second in their group behind Roma, Antonio Conte’s men were hoping for a potential tie against Besiktas but instead came out against Lionel Messi’s band of superstars.
Tottenham were also handed a questionable reward for finishing ahead of Real Madrid in their qualifying group as they were paired with last year’s runners-up Juventus.
The remaining three ties pit Real Madrid against Paris St Germain, Shakhtar Donetsk with Roma, and Bayern Munich against Besiktas.
The draw is not what Chelsea wanted after Conte conceded that the defence of their Premier League crown was over after this weekend’s defeat to West Ham.
But he will hope to invoke the memory of their remarkable win over the Catalan giants in 2012, when a late goal from Ramires saw them reach the Champions League final on away goals despite the earlier dismissal of John Terry.
Spurs, meanwhile, can expect to face a sterner test than that posed by Juventus in their last meeting in a pre-season friendly at Wembley in May, which the North Londoners won 2-0.
City will no doubt be delighted to land Swiss outsiders Basel.
But they will have good cause to be wary against their experienced opposition, who beat both United and Benfica on their way to qualifying as runners-up from Group A.