The draws for the next round of the Champions League and Europa League have been made, and there are some very tasty matches that have been picked out of the hat. Both English clubs in the Champions League face Italian opposition. Arsenal will play AC Milan, while Chelsea face Napoli.
In the Europa League, Manchester United will battle Ajax of Amsterdam, while Manchester City faces Porto, and Stoke will take on Valencia.
None of the English teams face easy opposition, by any means. But traditionally Premier League sides have done very well against Italian opposition. I’m especially interested to see if Chelsea can do what Manchester City couldn’t — which is to beat Napoli.
Arsenal, meanwhile, faces a stern test against AC Milan. If the Gunners can get past Milan and into the next round of the Champions League, they would have to be seen as a strong contender to reach the UEFA Champions League Final.
In the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, the draw is as follows (English teams in bold):
- Lyon v APOEL,
- Napoli v Chelsea,
- AC Milan v Arsenal,
- Basel v Bayern Munich,
- Bayer Leverkusen v Barcelona,
- CSKA Moscow v Real Madrid,
- Zenit St Petersburg v Benfica,
- Marseille v Inter Milan.
The first legs will be played on February 14, 15, 21 and 22 while the returns will take place on March 6, 7, 13 and 14.
The draw for the final 32 of the Europa League is as follows:
- Porto v Manchester City,
- Ajax v Manchester United,
- Lokomotiv Moscow v Athletic,
- Salzburg v Metalist,
- Stoke v Valencia,
- Rubin v Olympiacos,
- AZ Alkmaar v Anderlecht,
- Lazio v Atletico Madrid,
- Steaua v Twente,
- Plzen v Schalke,
- Wisla v Standard Liege,
- Braga v Besiktas,
- Udinese v PAOK,
- Trabzonspor v PSV,
- Hannover v Club Brugge,
- Legia v Sporting.
If Manchester United beat Ajax, they will play the winner of Lokomotiv Moscow or Athletic in the round of 16. If Manchester City beats Porto, they’ll play the winner of Legia v Sporting. Last, but not least, if Stoke beats Valencia, they’ll face either Trabzonspor or PSV in the next round.
The round of 32 matches in the Europa League will be played February 16 and 23.