Who can Arsenal face in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 draw?
We’re here! European knockout competition awaits Arsenal having reached this stage with the only perfect group stage campaign in both the Europa League and Champions League.
Not much to shout home about considering the quality of opposition, but heck, you can only beat what’s in front of you, right?
Speaking of which, what is in front of Arsenal in their quest for Champions League football?
The Gunners have dabbled in this competition for the past three seasons, with unfortunate results. If the semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid was tough to take, the humbling final defeat to Chelsea was the true signal of how far from grace Arsenal had fallen.
Then throw in an embarrassing round of 32 loss to Olympiacos last season and the ship kept sinking. Those pesky Greeks. We seem to play them every year. And guess what? We can again.
Here is all you need to know about the Round of 32 draw.
When is the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 Draw?
The draw takes place at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday 14th December.
The event starts at 12:00 GMT and can be streamed live on the official UEFA website here.
How Does the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 Draw Work?
As per usual, balls will be drawn from two separate pots consisting of seeded teams and unseeded teams.
- All seeded sides will play at home in the second legs.
- No side can face a team they’ve already come up against in the group stages or from the same nation.
Who is in the Draw?
The customary dread of seeing sides drop down into the Europa League from the Champions League coughed up a few worrying opponents, of which there are eight in total. They join the 12 sides who finished top of their Europa League groups and the 12 sides who finished as runners-up.
The 12 group winners are seeded along with the four best performing third-placed sides from the Champions League, with the remaining 16 sides unseeded.
Who Can Arsenal Face in the Round of 32 Draw?
Eliminating the side Arsenal have already faced in the competition so far (Molde), leaves Mikel Arteta‘s men with 15 possibilities:
- Antwerp (BEL)
- Benfica (POR)
- Braga (POR)
- Crvena Zvezda (SRB)
- Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)
- Granada (ESP)
- Krasnodar (RUS)
- LOSC Lille (FRA)
- Maccabi Tel-Aviv (ISR)
- Olympiacos (GRE)
- Real Sociedad (ESP)
- Salzburg (AUT)
- Slavia Praha (CZE)
- Wolfsberg (AUT)
- Young Boys (SUI)
Winning the group was beneficial, but it still leaves some frightening options including last season’s nemesis, Olympiacos. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang probably still has nightmares about that miss, even if it was him who gave Arsenal a chance of qualification in the first place.
Red Bull Salzburg pose a real threat, as do Real Sociedad and Lille, while Benfica would also preferably be avoided. Can’t even enjoy a trip to Portugal if that’s the draw.
In truth, it’s all tricky. There are clear preferences, but given Arsenal’s form, no tie can be written off as a dead certain victory.
When Do the Round of 32 Ties Take Place?
The plethora of last-32 fixtures are scheduled to take place on Thursday, 18th February, with the reverse legs penciled in for one week later on 25th February.
In regards to kick-off times, they will follow the same pattern as had been done in the group stages, with the ties split between 17:55 GMT and 20:00 GMT.
The round of 16 draw will take place the day after the final fixtures on 26th February…although we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves.