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MARTIN KEOWN: Manchester City get the better of Spurs… but don't write off Manchester United

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Manchester City should get the job done against Spurs… but don’t write off Manchester United in Barcelona

  • Manchester City drew Tottenham in the Champions League quarter finals
  • Liverpool face Porto while Manchester United take on Lionel Messi’s Barcelona 
  • In the Europa League, Arsenal face Napoli while Chelsea take on Slavia Prague 
  • Sportsmail columnist Martin Keown has given his verdict on European draws 

Martin Keown for the Daily Mail

The draw for the Champions League quarter-finals was made on Friday and there are some mouthwatering showdowns in store.

Manchester City take on Tottenham in all-English affair while Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will return to the Nou Camp for the first time since his heroics in 1999. Liverpool, meanwhile, will take on Portuguese champions Porto. 

Sportsmail columnist Martin Keown has cast his eye over the quarter-final draws and given his verdict on the chances of European success for the remaining English clubs.

The Champions League quarter final draws were conducted on Friday in Nyon, Switzerland

The Champions League quarter final draws were conducted on Friday in Nyon, Switzerland

What are your first impressions of the draw… and who do you think will win the competition?

All four ties are magnificent. It is great that we could have three English teams in the semi-finals.

I went for Manchester City to win the Champions League at the start of the season and I’m sticking with that prediction.

With City and Liverpool on opposite sides of the draw, there is still the prospect that they could meet in the final.

Already in an epic tussle for the Premier League title, they could end up battling each other to be crowned European champions.

Sportsmail columnist Martin Keown has given his verdict on the outcomes of the four ties

LIVERPOOL vs PORTO 

Are Liverpool back to their best after their brilliant win at Bayern Munich? 

Liverpool seem to save their best performances for the European stage. This victory will give them the belief they can go on to win the Premier League.

Their front three – Salah, Mane and Firmino – looked hungry and back to their best. Virgil van Dijk oozed class.

There was only one team in control of that match and it was Liverpool.

They will be very happy at drawing Porto – a team they beat 5-0 on aggregate last season.

KEOWN’S VERDICT: LIVERPOOL 

Virgil van Dijk is in exceptional form and Liverpool should have no trouble against Porto

Virgil van Dijk is in exceptional form and Liverpool should have no trouble against Porto

Virgil van Dijk is in exceptional form and Liverpool should have no trouble against Porto

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR vs MANCHESTER CITY 

Who will win the all-English tie between Tottenham and Manchester City? 

I’ve said that City will win the competition so I expect them to get the job done against Spurs but it won’t be easy.

You only have to look at the contrasting workloads for the two teams. If Brighton win their FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday, Tottenham will have their feet up the weekend before they are due to play the first leg.

City have a gruelling run of six games in just 18 days in which they will play Spurs three times, a potential FA Cup semi-final, a Manchester derby at Old Trafford and a tricky trip to Crystal Palace.

KEOWN’S VERDICT: MANCHESTER CITY 

Martin Keown has backed Manchester City to beat Tottenham and go on to win the tournament

Martin Keown has backed Manchester City to beat Tottenham and go on to win the tournament

Martin Keown has backed Manchester City to beat Tottenham and go on to win the tournament

MANCHESTER UNITED vs  BARCELONA 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer goes back to the Nou Camp for the first time since his heroics in 1999. They can’t beat Barcelona… can they?

You could not have written a better script… and you cannot write off Solskjaer.

Plenty of people thought his magic had worn off after United were beaten 2-0 at home by PSG. They responded by winning at Chelsea in the FA Cup and pulling off an incredible comeback in the return leg in Paris.

On paper, Barcelona should be too strong for United. Lionel Messi blew them away at Wembley in the final eight years ago and his powers are not waning.

But United have already won at Juventus and PSG this season. Why can’t they add Barcelona to their list of scalps?

Premier League teams are strong in Europe once again and I can see United springing a surprise here.

KEOWN’S VERDICT: MANCHESTER UNITED 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will return to the Nou Camp and Keown has backed a shock result

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will return to the Nou Camp and Keown has backed a shock result

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will return to the Nou Camp and Keown has backed a shock result

AJAX vs JUVENTUS 

Can Ajax knock out Ronaldo and Juventus?

If Cristiano Ronaldo wins this for the sixth time, surely they have to name the competition after him!

Juventus were staring at the exit until Ronaldo worked his magic. Success in this competition seems to drive him.

Don’t count out Ajax, though. This is a magnificent young team who were better than Real Madrid over both legs.

Ronaldo and Juventus to go through – but it won’t be easy.

KEOWN’S VERDICT: JUVENTUS 

Cristiano Ronaldo's supreme display against Atletico shows why Ajax should fear Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo's supreme display against Atletico shows why Ajax should fear Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo’s supreme display against Atletico shows why Ajax should fear Juventus

ARSENAL vs NAPOLI and CHELSEA vs SLAVIA PRAGUE

What about the Europa League?

It will be a hugely disappointing campaign for Chelsea if they do not at least reach the final from here.

Arsenal have the tougher route to the final. How they fare in the home leg will be crucial. They have beaten Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United at the Emirates and were excellent in their draw with Liverpool there.

Napoli will not look forward to that game and if Arsenal make home advantage count, I can see them getting through.

KEOWN’S VERDICT: Both Arsenal and Chelsea to progress

The Europa League quarter finals were also drawn in Nyon featuring Arsenal and Chelsea

Arsenal will take on Napoli while Chelsea take on Slavia Prague in the Europa League last-eight

Arsenal will take on Napoli while Chelsea take on Slavia Prague in the Europa League last-eight

Chelsea have an easier route to the final than the Gunners

Chelsea have an easier route to the final than the Gunners

Arsenal will take on Napoli while Chelsea take on Slavia Prague in the Europa League last-eight



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Photos: ‘Injured’ Man Utd skipper Antonio Valencia in Ecuador training

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Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia trained with the Ecuador national team overnight. The 33-year-old right-back has been sidelined for…

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Arsenal news LIVE: Gunners transfer hinges on Brexit, Unai Emery targets THREE signings

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Arsenal news LIVE updates: All the latest news and gossip from the Emirates

Wednesday, March 29

  • Arsenal hopes of signing Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli hinges on Brexit
  • Arsenal are monitoring three players ahead of the transfer window
  • Cristian Pavon, Cengiz Under and Ismaila Sarr on the shortlist
  • Lee Dixon discusses Unai Emery’s training sessions

Brexit to determine Arsenal transfer…

Arsenal’s hopes of signing Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli hinges on Brexit, reports claim.

The Gunners are front-runners in the battle to sign Martinelli, who previously had trials with Manchester United and Barcelona.

But according to The Sun, Martinelli, 17, would struggle to qualify for a work permit.

The teenager reportedly plans to apply for a European passport because of his Italian heritage.

However, the report says that if the UK leaves the EU on March 29 – ‘British clubs would no longer be exempt from Fifa rules banning the transfer of players under 18 years old.’

Gunners eye trio

Arsenal are monitoring three players ahead of the transfer window but there’s a twist in the Denis Suarez saga, according to reports.

It was reported earlier this week that the north London giants had decided NOT to turn Suarez’s loan into a permanent deal.

However, Football London report that Arsenal are yet to make a final decision on the 25-year-old’s future.

Football London do say, though, that Arsenal are monitoring three forwards ahead of the summer transfer window.

Cristian Pavon, Cengiz Under and Ismaila Sarr are said to be on Unai Emery’s transfer shortlist.

Man City close to Saul Niguez

Manchester City are close to completing the signing of Atletico madrid midfielder Saul Niguez.

Pep Guardiola views Niguez, 24, as a long-term replacement for Fernandinho and an alternative to Barcelona-bound Frenkie de Jong.

And ESPN FC claim City are closing in on a summer transfer.

The report adds that Atletico are looking to raise funds this summer and value Niguez at £120million – but would accept closer to £80m.

Lee Dixon ITK

Lee Dixon has revealed what a club insider has told him about Unai Emery’s training sessions.

The Arsenal legend says training sessions have risen drastically in terms of intensity since Unai Emery replaced Wenger last summer.

“The training intensity and the accountability in training with what is expected of them has gone up,” Dixon told Premier League Productions.

“I know that for a fact because I’ve still got a few people knocking around the training ground that I can ask how things are going.

“The little insider has kind of said training has completely changed in that respect, which I think’s a good thing.”

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Nemanja Matic withdraws from Serbia squad due to injury

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Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic has pulled out of the Serbia squad to face Germany and Portugal. The 30-year-old reported for duty in his…

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