Thursday, February 23, 2023

Arsenal’s horror Europa League draw revealed with Mikel Arteta’s side facing tougher test than Man Utd in last-16

ARSENAL face a far tougher test than Manchester United in the Europa League last 16 – thanks to a quirk of the rules.

The Gunners easily qualified as group winners whereas the Red Devils got through via a play-off, albeit a stirring 4-3 aggregate win over Barcelona.

Mikel Arteta knows Arsenal are virtually guaranteed a tough draw

But the eight non-seeds include sides dropping down from the Champions League.

That means Premier League leaders Arsenal could meet Juventus, Roma or Sevilla amongst many stiff options.

At least they can’t meet United – not yet anyway – because the rules also keep teams from the same country apart in the last 16,

Many Gunners’ fans on social media reckon Mikel Arteta’s are doomed to be paired with Juve in Friday’s noon draw.

And a common wish was to take on Ukrainians Shakhtar Donetsk.

In fact, two posts seemed to speak for a large proportion of Arsenal supporters

One said: “Avoid Sevilla and Juventus and I’m good.”

And the other was: “No easy fixture there but have 2 play b team to keep team fresh for league. It’s all about winning league for me.”

Arsenal’s possible opponents are: Union Berlin, Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen, Roma, Sevilla, Sporting Lisbon and Shakhtar.

In contrast, United appear to have it easier as they’ll be paired against one of these clubs: Union Saint-Gilloise, SC Freiburg, Ferencvaros, Feyenoord, Real Betis, Real Sociedad or Fenerbahce.

The last-16 ties take place on March 9 and 16.

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