The latter parts of the tournament always cause much excitement around Europe. The teams involved at this stage are all big clubs in their own right, and many will be wanting their team to be drawn against what they would call a “less popular club”.
With Inter Milan, AC Milan and Arsenal all finishing second of their respective groups, there will be one or two titanic clashes in ths first knock-out stage. Arsenal for example will meet on of Barcelona, Real Madrid, or Bayern or Schalke of the Bundesliga no matter what happens.
Obviously fans will want to meet the lesser known of the four in Schalke although the finance men may wish to see La Liga’s big guns at the Emirates stadium right away.
For Arsenal’s local rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, the Champions League knock-out stages represents unknown territory and many fans will be hoping that Daniel Levy will even find his way to the right conference hall. For Spurs though, as group winners this represent a marvellous opportunity to show Europe their brand of football and the teams they could face are not the best of the bunch by a fair margin.
They could face one of Lyon, Roma, Marseille, Copenhagen of Serie A giants AC Milan. Whilst you could possibly pick two or three preferred choices from that group, Tottenham, after beating Inter Milan over the two qualifying legs will be confident of beating any that cross their path.
For Manchester United it looks like business as usual and those to face the Red Devils will be more wary of United than Sir Alex will be of them. Of Copenhagen, Marseille, Inter, Lyon, AC milan and Roma. Although Manchester United will surely be happy to play any of those teams, Copenhagen sticks out as the obvious fans choice.
Chelsea could meet very much the same teams as Manchester United although Marseille would be swapped for Valencia. Although United made relatively easy work of the Spanish in their group, Chelsea, on current form could struggle against the majority of these teams and they will have to be careful not fall on the first hurdle.
The Champions League draw can be watched on Friday from 10.30am GMT on Sky Sports News.