Europa League draw simulated as Man Utd handed winnable last 16 tie

Manchester United V Barcelona in pictures

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The Europa League last 16 is upon us with both Manchester United and Arsenal both in the draw. The Gunners qualified directly to this stage courtesy of topping Group A while United had to defeat Barcelona over two enthralling legs after finishing second in Group E and dropping into the play-off round.

United trailed 1-0 to Barcelona at half-time at Old Trafford last night courtesy of Robert Lewandowski’s penalty. But the Red Devils responded in the second 45 with goals from Fred and substitute Antony putting Erik ten Hag’s team into the next round.

Elsewhere, Juventus cruised through by thrashing Nantes, Bayer Leverkusen beat Monaco on penalties and Jose Mourinho’s Roma – last season’s Europa Conference League winners – progressed after downing RB Salzburg.

Arsenal are one of eight seeded teams for today’s draw – which gets underway at midday UK time – alongside Real Betis, Fenerbahce, Ferencvaros, Feyenoord, Freiburg, Real Sociedad and Union Saint-Gilloise. Those teams all won their groups.

While the eight teams to progress from the knockout play-off round will be unseeded, with Manchester United joined by Union Berlin, Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen, Roma, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk and Sporting Lisbon.

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The eight group winners have earned the right to play the second leg at home in the draw. But as per the rules, no team can face another club from the same country at this stage.

That means United cannot play Arsenal, and likewise none of the seeded and unseeded German, Dutch or Spanish teams can meet one another yet either. Express Sport has simulated the eight quarter-final ties – with Arsenal paired with six-time winners Sevilla.

The two teams have only met competitively twice, in the group stages in the 2007-08 Champions League when Arsenal won 3-0 in north London but then lost 3-1 in Spain. Sevilla have regularly met English opponents since then and dumped Manchester United out in the Europa League semi-finals in 2020.

Jorge Sampaoli’s side are 12th in the Spanish top-flight this term and defeated PSV 3-2 on aggregate in the play-off round. They have Alex Telles on loan from Manchester United as well as other familiar names in Erik Lamela, Ivan Rakitic, Jesus Navas, Bryan Gil – on loan from Tottenham – and Youssef En-Nesyri.

Elsewhere, in Express Sport’s simulation, Man United’s reward for getting the better of La Liga leaders Barcelona is a clash with Bundesliga side Freiburg. The German outfit have never previously faced an English team in European competition.

Freiburg sit fourth in the league at present and just three points off Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Union Berlin who are all tied at the top of the table. United will have to be wary of forwards Michael Gregoritsch and Vincenzo Grifo, who have a combined 24 goals this term.

Simulated Europa League last 16 draw in full

Bayer Leverkusen vs Feyenoord
Sevilla vs Arsenal
Juventus vs Real Sociedad
Manchester United vs Freiburg
Sporting Lisbon vs Union Saint-Gilloise
Roma vs Ferencvaros
Union Berlin vs Fenerbahce
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Real Betis

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