Is this the most open Champions League for years? When the holders lose home and away to a side which did not even get out of the group stages, it would suggest the winner could come from a larger field than usual. And that may open up the possibility of an English Premier League club triumphing for the first time since 2012.

Real Madrid's 3-0 defeat by CSKA Moscow at the Bernabeu on Thursday may have been in a dead rubber but it was their heaviest at home in a European competition. They did not play the kids. It was embarrassing. Real are vulnerable and are not alone in that. Plus, with all four Premier League teams - Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United - in the last 16, the evenness reflected across all the European giants should mean England has a greater chance.

Except there are some significant caveats to that theory - and not least that three of those teams finished as runners-up in their group. It now all depends on Tuesday's draw.

"That three of the English sides came second in the group will probably hurt their chances," said Omar Chaudhuri, head of football intelligence at 21st Club, a football consultancy working with many leading clubs. "The odds of an English winner will swing quite a lot on the draw, too - last year, Spurs and Chelsea got very tough ties, while Liverpool [who drew Porto] and City [Basel] got straightforward routes."


That was until they met in the last eight, with Liverpool going on to the final, losing to Real.

But Liverpool, in particular, have significantly strengthened. The same cannot be said across Europe, with maybe the exception of a Cristiano Ronaldo-bolstered Juventus.

Even so, on the same night that Ronaldo's former team Real were losing, so were Juventus. They suffered the shock of a 2-1 away defeat against clearly the weakest team in their group, the Swiss club Young Boys, although they still finished first because Manchester United failed to take advantage in Valencia.

Porto were the only group winners to claim five victories but are seen as weak. Bayern Munich were the only other group winners not to suffer a defeat. Four runners-up progressed despite collecting fewer than 10 points. What does it mean?

"It is a tough competition. Napoli lose one game, Liverpool lose three games and Liverpool goes through," City manager Pep Guardiola said. "Little details. I am happy that all four English teams are through and hopefully we will see them all in the quarter-finals."

England, for the second season in succession, has the largest representation in the last 16 and there is no doubt the English clubs are stronger. In Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, two of the four have managers who have won the Champions League, and more than once, while Jurgen Klopp has reached two finals. Mauricio Pochettino is the least experienced, although his Tottenham side appear better equipped than Mourinho's United.

Alongside the English quartet are the big guns, but there is an unusual fallibility to many of them, summed up by the problems faced by holders Real and by Bayern Munich, whose coach Niko Kovac has failed to convince and whose team is ageing.

It means that Juventus, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain should be regarded as the imperfect favourites outside any Premier League contenders, led by City.