CHAMPIONS League TV expert Matt Smith was on hand as the Champions League draw was made in Switzerland today – and his predictions could spell good news for fans of Manchester City and Liverpool!
The quarter final and semi-final draws were made in Nyon on Friday lunch-time, and StaffsLive were lucky enough to chat to the BT Sport presenter about his thoughts on the competition.
The experienced broadcaster, formerly of BBC and ITV Sport, was at Staffordshire University presenting the Future Journalism Awards 2019.
The Champions League draw saw an all-English clash between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as last year’s finalists Liverpool taking on Porto, Manchester United against Barcelona and Ajax playing Juventus.
“The law of probability suggested we would get at least two English teams drawn together, and it’s City and Spurs. I don’t think City – with respect to Tottenham – will be overly concerned about that,” Smith said.
“Tottenham’s form has dipped a little bit of late, but that said, they got past (Borussia) Dortmund with two terrific performances, so City cannot take anything for granted. Over two legs with the form that City are in, they will fancy their chances. Liverpool will be delighted to get Porto.”
On paper, Manchester United look to have got the most difficult draw, taking on a Barcelona side including Lionel Messi, and Smith believes his influence could be crucial in the quarter final.
“Barcelona v Manchester United is a mouth-watering tie and obviously is a repeat of two finals which both went to Barca, one in Rome and one at Wembley, Messi was too strong for the United defence which may well still be the case,” he said.
“United have had a great few months under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but it is a massive challenge for them to overcome Barcelona in two games. We didn’t think they would beat PSG either so I don’t rule them out but I make Barcelona favourites.”
But who is Matt’s pick to lift the trophy on June 1stat the Wanda Metropolitano?
“There are four teams that could win this, I would argue. The four that won this week; Juventus, Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City are right in the mix. “You could end up with a City v Barcelona final which would be very exciting for Pep Guardiola and for all the Barca fans that loved him it would be a dream final but I wouldn’t rule out a City v Liverpool final either.
“If City get past Juventus imagine a crescendo in the Premier League where City and Liverpool are fighting probably until the last day followed by a Champions League final between the two at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid. That would be some end to this season.”