UEFA Champions League Round of Sixteen preview: AS Roma vs. FC Porto

The UEFA Champions League is finally back, and the best teams from across Europe will battle it out to earn their place in the next round.

The first games of the Round of Sixteen will take place on Tuesday, February 12 when AS Roma take on FC Porto and Manchester United takes on Paris Saint Germain. Let’s start off in Rome.

So far in the Italian Serie A, Roma have not been playing their best football. Sitting in fifth place behind the likes of AC Milan, Inter, Napoli, and Juventus, the giallorossi have struggled compared to previous seasons. Despite this, however, Roma have always played with a winning mindset, and they refuse to go down without putting up a fight. With a front line consisting of Edin Dzeko, Justin Kluivert, and Stephan El Shaarawy, Roma will play quite direct while Kostas Manolas, the “Greek warrior” at Center Back, protects the back line from Porto’s attack. Porto are currently sitting on top of the Liga NOS, 3 points clear of the second place team. With the acquisition of Portuguese defender Pepe, their defense is among the most underrated across the entire continent. With his years of experience, he is guaranteed to benefit Eder Militao, a 21 year-old Brazilian Center Back who has caught the attention of some of Europe’s top clubs. With these two protecting legendary Spanish shot-stopper Iker Casillas, Roma will struggle to get to goal and even if they do, Casillas’s presence in goal will be seen. In terms of their attacking play, expect Porto to attack the wings with the pace and ball control of Yacine Brahimi and Jesus “Tecatito” Corona.

As impressive as Porto have been this season, I don’t see them defeating this Roma team.

1,377 miles away, Paris Saint Germain will step into Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. The French Ligue 1 has been dominated by the Parisians for years, and this season is no different. After signing French wonderkid Kylian Mbappe during the 2018 Summer transfer window, he and Brazilian winger Neymar Jr. simply can’t be stopped. PSG have put the ball in their opponent’s net 67 times so far this season, and have only conceded 13. With Thiago Silva and Marquinhos protecting their goal, the Red Devils will surely struggle. As for Manchester United, hope is not completely lost. They have been in brilliant form under the reign of interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as they are unbeaten in their last 8 Premier League games. Midfielder Paul Pogba has contributed to this greatly and has directly contributed to 11 goals since December 22. Despite this fantastic form, United’s defense has been the weakest part of their team for years, and they will struggle to contain PSG’s rapid attack. Manchester United can breathe a little easier, though, as Neymar Jr. has been ruled out of the game due to injury.

In my opinion, this is anyone’s game. Both teams are in tremendous form and I won’t be surprised by either team that comes out with a win.