Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Rangers booked their spots in the round of 16 of the Europa League last night, and they will get to know their next opponents this afternoon.
The draw will be held at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, at 12.00 pm British Standard Time. For this round, there are no seedings while teams from the same group or association can be drawn alongside each other.
The first leg will be played on March 11, with the return leg seven days later. Let’s have a look at the best and worst opponents for all four British clubs.
The Gunners avoided another surprise round of 32 exit after a dramatic 3-2 comeback win over Benfica last night (4-3 on aggregate).
They will be hoping to avoid the other Premier League sides in the last 16, especially Spurs, given their poor record with Jose Mourinho in the opposite dugout. Villareal, Roma and AC Milan could also prove tricky opposition.
The rest of them should be favourable but the Gunners fans may particularly want to face Olympiacos to avenge last season’s shock exit. The Greek side have faced the Gunners on a staggering 10 occasions over the past 12 years.
The Red Devils had a cakewalk into the last 16 after a comfortable 4-0 aggregate win over Real Sociedad. Arsenal are one side whom they have struggled against in the past few years in the Premier League and they will be eager to make amends if they are drawn against them.
They may not shy away from facing Spurs either, but Serie A duo AC Milan and Roma would test their credentials. United outclassed Real Sociedad but their record against Spanish sides has been poor lately. Villarreal, managed by ex-Gunners boss Unai Emery, could be tricky opposition for them.
Spurs cruised through the round of 32 stage after a commanding 8-1 aggregate win over Wolfsberger.
There could be a north London derby against Arsenal on the cards in the last 16 and Jose Mourinho will fancy his chances, given he has never lost a home game to the Gunners as the opposition manager. Spurs are unbeaten in five meetings against their cross-city rivals, and the game often brings the best out of them.
Spurs are aiming to reach the last eight of the competition for the first time since the 2012/13 campaign.
The runaway Scottish Premiership leaders have been the surprise package of this season’s competition. The Gers continued their stellar 21-match unbeaten run at home with a 5-2 win over Antwerp which sealed a comfortable 9-5 aggregate triumph.
Arsenal, Tottenham and Man United are among the toughest opponents for them, but manager Steven Gerrard won’t mind his side testing their credentials against the Premier League’s elite while AC Milan and Roma could also provide intriguing ties for them.
The fans of the respective British teams will be hoping for favourable ties in the last 16 but, for the neutral fans, a north London derby or the renewal of classic European rivalries such as Man United and AC Milan would relishing to watch.