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On Monday the draw for the Champions League last 16 ties takes place in Nyon, Switzerland. We take a look at possible opponents for Ernesto Valverde's Barça side.
Coach: Jose Mourinho – The Portuguese manager took over at the Premier League club back in November after the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino. With four wins and just one defeat so far in the league, ‘The Special One’ has helped steady the ship at Spurs and lifted them to 7th place in the table.
Key players: Harry Kane, Heung Ming Son and Dele Alli – The striker is having another great season with 15 goals in all competitions. The Korean Son has chipped in with 10 and Alli has been back to his best in recent matches under new coach Mourinho.
Coach: Gennaro Gattuso – The Serie A club sealed their place in the last 16 with a win against Genk on Tuesday and promptly sacked coach Carlo Ancelotti the next day. The new man in charge in former AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso and he arrives with the team in 7th place in the league, 17 points behind leaders Inter Milan.
Key players: Dries Mertens, Arkadiusk Milik, Fabián Ruiz – The 32 year old Mertens is a legend at Napoli after scoring 118 goals for the club since signing back in 2013. The Belgian scored five times in the group stages and he is ably supported by the Pole Milik who scored a hat-trick in Tuesday’s 4-0 win over Genk. Spanish international Fabián Ruiz provides a silky left foot in midfield.
Coach: Frank Lampard – A Chelsea hero from his playing days, Lampard took over at the London club last summer. As well as leading his team to the last 16 in Europe, Chelsea are also holding their own in in the Premier League as they currently sit in fourth place on 29 points, just three behind third placed Manchester City.
Key players: Tammy Abraham, Kanté, Kepa – Striker Abraham is one of several young players who have broken through this season at Chelsea and he has an impressive total of 13 goals in all competitions. Kanté is still the fulcrum of the side in midfield and Spanish keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is rated as one of the best shot stoppers in Europe. The squad also contains former blaugrana Pedro.
Coach: Rudi Garcia took over from former Barça player Sylvinho in October. Since then they have recovered somewhat after a poor start to the campaign and they are not two points off the European places in Ligue 1 in 7th place.
Key players: Memphis Depay, Moussa Dembélé, Anthony Lopes – Former Fulham and Celtic striker Dembélé (no relation to Ousmane) has provided 10 goals this season for the French club but top scorer is former Manchester United midfielder Depay with 14. Portuguese keeper Anthony Lopes provides experience in defence.
Coach: Gian Piero Gasperini came to the Bergamo based club in 2016 and Atalanta have improved as a result year on year. After two seasons playing in the Europa League a third place finish in Serie A gave them a place in this season’s Champions League. Things did not start well for the Italians as they lost their first three games. However, a historic comeback in the second half of the group stage saw them into the last 16. In Serie A they currently occupy sixth place on 28 points, some 10 behind leaders Inter.
Key players: Luis Muriel, Duván Zapata, Josip Ilicic – Colombian duo Muriel and Zapata have scored 17 goals between them so far this season, 10 for the former Sevilla striker and 7 for the man on loan from Sampdoria. Slovenian midfielder Ilicic brings an understated quality and experience to an otherwise youthful Atalanta squad.
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