Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City ensure the Premier League will have three teams represented in the Champions League last 16, despite Liverpool’s limp group stage exit.The Blues cruised through their group to qualify top of the table, as Gunners and the premier league champions qualify as runners up.
Arsenal didn’t have the best of starts in this seasons campaign though there was very little doubt the Gunners would end up sailing through in Group D, despite an opening day loss at Borussia Dortmund. The German side and the Gunners quickly became runaway leaders and the question became which one of the two would top the pile? Head-to-head there was nothing between them so it ultimately came down to Dortmund’s ability to comfortably beat Anderlecht and Galatasaray just a bit easier than Arsene Wenger’s team managed, and sneak top spot on goal difference.
Chelsea had a slow start following an opening day draw at Stamford Bridge against Schalke was about as nervous as it got for the blues, as they cruised through Group G and had the group won with a game to spare. The Blues’ two big tests were brushed off, with a 1-0 win in Sporting Lisbon trumped by an emphatic 5-0 victory at Schalke as Jose Mourinho’s outfit made light work of their supposed rivals in the group. Dreams of a second Champions League crown have remained steady as tougher tests will be sure to come at Stamford Bridge.
By contrast to Chelsea and Arsenal, Manchester City looked like they were on a fast-ticket to a Champions League exit for a large majority of their group stage campaign. Even with two games to play City hadn’t won a game, with what looked like a mission impossible task to qualify, City made a dramatic turn around to qualify as runners-up defeating Bayern Munich and Roma in their final two matches to send Manuel Pellegrini’s men through. It leaves them with daunting last 16 prospects, but it keeps them feeding alongside Europe’s elite which is just about what every City fan wants to see.
Other teams in the last 16 include Real Madrid, Barcelona, Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Schalke, Basel, Porto, Shatkar Donetsk, PSG, Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco.