Premier League Sides Face Tough Opposition in Champions League and Europa League Draws

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.

15 thoughts on “Premier League Sides Face Tough Opposition in Champions League and Europa League Draws”

  1. While Arsenal appear to have the hardest tie I don’t think AC Milan are unbeatable. I have seen some of their Seria A games and they don’t look unbeatable to me. So I give Arsenal a chance to progress provided they don’t make mistakes in the back. That’s the biggest concern with Arsenal. Second leg in London will help too.

    Chelsea have a tough tie against Napoli but I can see them beating the Italian side as they are beginning to turn things around. This could be one of the better ties of the round.

    City have a very tough tie against Porto but I feel they have enough to go through. Second leg in Manchester will help.

    United should get past Ajax. Second leg in Manchester should get them through.

    Stoke have a tough tie against Valencia especially since the return leg is in Spain. Stoke could be the only EPL team to not progress to the next round.

  2. Sorted my flights to Alicante, 5 days in Spain watching the mighty potters take the long throw to la liga! Never thougt I’d see the day I’d be able to go and watch Stoke play a competitive match in Europe. Makes up for years of Colchester’s, Bury’s, Macclefield’s, Crewe’s, and worst of all Port Vale’s. I suppose this is what you get to experience when you’ve paid your dues.

    Delilah in Estadio Mestalla should be a sight to behold.

    Come on you rip roaring potters!

    1. Sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. Congratulations to Stoke for doing so well in the tournament thus far. The Europa League often gets overlooked, but Stoke has deserved their match against Valencia. Should be a cracker of a game (both legs). It’ll be interesting to see how Valencia adapts to playing at the Britannia on a cold and wet, windy night!

      The Gaffer

      1. Cheers Gaffer. I should have a bit of time afterwards to try and knock up a piece about the experience if anyone’s interested. Funnily enough we’ve played Valencia at home before midweek and beat them then. I really don’t mind how it goes, Valencia looks an amazing city and we’ve made loads of friends along the way so hopefully it’ll be more of the same.

        Stoke have been all over national radio all week first for beating Spurs (which upset a lot of people) and now because we’ll apparently let the Premier League down in Europe by exporting our brand of football, sorry rugby, to Spain. Surely United, City, and Fulham are the ones that have let the EPL down getting knocked out in the first place, at least we’re still in it through merit not through the back door.

      2. Gaffer, it gets over-looked because its a tedious, overly drawn out competition with relatively little reward, until that changes…..

  3. Ajax are the perfect draw for Man United. They are a big name team which should guard against complacency, the journey is relativity short (compared to some of the far flung Eastern European teams) and it’s a good sized stadium so United should get a decent ticket allocation and have plenty of fans in the ground over there

  4. It’s too early to predict what will happen as each of the teams will be adding/subtracting players during the transfer window. Much will depend on which teams add the most quality to their squad.

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