Monday, April 19News For London

Champions League draw sees Mourinho pressure build

Chelsea will once again face Paris Saint Germain in the first knockout round of the Champions League, following the draw for the last 16 in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday.

A recent run of poor results has raised questions about Mourinho’s leadership (Source: Flickr / Ronnie Macdonald)

The draw saw just three English clubs take part, due to Manchester United’s early exit at the hands of Wolfsburg last week. Manchester City were drawn with Dynamo Kyiv in what seems to be a reasonable tie for Pellegrini’s side. In stark comparison, Chelsea and Arsenal were drawn against heavyweights PSG and Barcelona respectively.

Recent results have seen Chelsea remain in a precarious position in the lower half of the Premier League table, and the prospect of facing the French champions in a Champions League tie will have done nothing to alleviate the pressure on Mourinho. Chelsea played PSG in the competition last year, losing due to the much-maligned away goals rule.

Chelsea face Claudio Ranieri’s high-flying Leicester in Monday’s evening kick-off, and a win is undoubtably needed to boost the team’s flagging morale.

Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying will have been dampened by the prospect of facing European giants Barcelona. The Gunners have never been able to beat the Spaniards over two legs, having faced each other many times in the past.

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Arsenal club secretary David Miles told BT Sport how Barcelona are the team their supporters most wanted to avoid; “It’s not going to be easy and it’s the team that most Arsenal fans would have wanted to avoid at this stage.”

Following the draw, many have predicted that City will be the only English team to make it through to the quarterfinals, and European football reporter Miguel Delaney echoes that sentiment; “City will definitely be in the quarter finals. After that though, who knows?”

Despite being despondent about the draw, the English clubs do have reason to rejoice in the battle to retain a fourth Champions League place with Italy. Italian clubs Juventus and Roma have been drawn against Bayern Munich and Real Madrid respectively, increasing English hopes of retaining the fourth spot.