Arse­nal get Bay­ern again, Barca meet PSG

Pog­bas to clash as Man Utd draw Saint-Eti­enne

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Arse­nal were once again drawn against Bay­ern Mu­nich in the last 16 of the UEFA Cham­pi­ons League yes­ter­day, while Barcelona will also come up against fa­mil­iar foes in the shape of Paris Saint-Ger­main. Arsene Wenger’s side had hoped win­ning their group for the first time in five years would spare them a tie against one of the con­ti­nent’s giants in the first knock­out round, but in­stead they must face Carlo Ancelotti’s Ger­man cham­pi­ons, who came sec­ond in their sec­tion, with the first leg in Bavaria.

Bay­ern elim­i­nated Arse­nal en route to win­ning the tro­phy in 2012/13 and re­peated the feat a year later, while the teams also met in the group stage last sea­son-the Gun­ners won 2-0 in Lon­don but then lost 5-1 at the Al­lianz Arena. PSG came sec­ond to Arse­nal in Group A, leav­ing them more vul­ner­a­ble to a tough draw and five-time win­ners Barcelona have elim­i­nated the French club in the quar­ter-fi­nals in two of the past four sea­sons, while the teams also met in the group stage in 2014/15. Re­cent his­tory fa­vors the Cata­lans, and so does cur­rent form, with Unai Emery’s side hav­ing squan­dered the chance to top their group by draw­ing at home to Lu­do­gorets of Bul­garia last week.

Reign­ing Euro­pean cham­pi­ons Real Madrid will face Napoli as they look to win the tro­phy for a record 12th time, while Pep Guardi­ola’s Manch­ester City face a test­ing two-legged en­counter against Monaco. City, cur­rently strug­gling for form, can­not af­ford to take the prin­ci­pal­ity side lightly-they are the most pro­lific side in Europe’s lead­ing leagues this sea­son and have beaten Arse­nal and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur in the Cham­pi­ons League in the past two years.

Pre­mier League cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter City will take on last sea­son’s Europa League win­ners Sevilla as a re­ward for top­ping their group in their de­but ap­pear­ance in the com­pe­ti­tion, with a visit to the Sanchez Pizjuan in the first leg. Atletico Madrid, run­ners up to city ri­vals Real in two of the last three sea­sons, were drawn against Bayer Lev­erkusen in a re­peat of their clash at the same stage in 2014/15. On that oc­ca­sion, Atletico emerged vic­to­ri­ous af­ter a tense penalty shootout.

Two-time win­ners Ju­ven­tus were drawn against FC Porto, while Borus­sia Dort­mund also face Por­tuguese op­po­si­tion in the shape of Ben­fica. The first legs will be played on Feb 14, 15, 21 and 22 with the sec­ond legs on March 7, 8, 14 and 15.

Sep­a­rately, Manch­ester United will take on Saint-Eti­enne in the last 32 of the Europa League pit­ting world-record sign­ing Paul Pogba against his el­der brother Florentin for the first time. Jose Mour­inho’s side will host the French club in the first leg on Feb 16 at Old Traf­ford, with the re­turn the fol­low­ing week. United mid­fielder Paul rep­re­sents France but Florentin, a de­fender, plays for Guinea and the brothers have never faced each other in a com­pet­i­tive game. At age 26, Florentin Pogba is three years older than his more fa­mous sib­ling, who cost United £89 mil­lion ($109 mil­lion) from Ju­ven­tus in the sum­mer.

The other Pre­mier League rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur, will face Gent of Bel­gium af­ter be­ing elim­i­nated from the Cham­pi­ons League at the group stage. Vil­lar­real of Spain will face Ital­ian giants Roma in one of the stand­out ties, while Bun­desliga club Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach were drawn against Fiorentina of Italy. United and Saint-Eti­enne met in the now-de­funct Cup Win­ners’ Cup first round in 1977, with United win­ning 3-1 on ag­gre­gate. On that oc­ca­sion United were forced to host the sec­ond leg in the south­ern English city of Ply­mouth, 450 km away from Old Traf­ford, fol­low­ing crowd trou­ble in the first leg in France.

Mour­inho’s men fin­ished sec­ond in Group A be­hind Fener­bahce of Turkey while Saint-Eti­enne topped Group C. Af­ter also hav­ing to go to Ukraine to face Zo­rya Luhansk in the group stage, United’s Por­tuguese man­ager is pleased that there will be no long away trip this time. Saint-Eti­enne, 10-time French cham­pi­ons and Euro­pean Cup run­ners-up in 1976, are eighth in Ligue 1. Saint-Eti­enne will host United in the sec­ond leg at the Stade Ge­of­froy-Guichard on Feb 22, with that game brought for­ward a day to avoid a clash with Lyon, who play AZ Alk­maar of the Nether­lands nearby the fol­low­ing day. — Agen­cies

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