Arsenal draw Sporting Lisbon in Europa League last 16; Manchester United face ex-Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis; West Ham draw Cypriot First Division leaders AEK Larnaca; first legs to take place on Thursday March 9, with second legs a week later on Thursday March 16
Arsenal have been drawn against Sporting Lisbon in the last 16 of the Europa League, with Manchester United facing Real Betis.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners side, who were beaten finalists in the 2018/19 edition of the competition and reached the semi-finals in 2020/21, will travel to Lisbon next month to face Ruben Amorim’s side, who are fourth in the Primeira Liga at present, in the first leg.
The pairing of the clubs brings potential for a reunion between Arsenal and former defender Hector Bellerin, with the Spaniard having joined the Portuguese club in January after a short return to boyhood club Barcelona.
In terms of where the tie fits into the north London club’s schedule, they welcome Bournemouth to the Emirates before the away tie at Sporting. A trip to Craven Cottage to play Fulham comes between the two legs, before the visit of Crystal Palace follows the second leg.
Manchester United, meanwhile, who have lost just once in all competitions since November , welcome Real Betis, managed by ex-Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, to Old Trafford for the first leg.
In the lead-up to that match, United travel to Anfield to play Liverpool. They then play Southampton at home before making the trip to Brighton following the second leg, which will be played at Betis’ Estadio Benito Villamarin.
Elsewhere, Bundesliga title candidates Union Berlin take on Union Saint-Gilloise, while Roma – who occupy third place in Serie A – face Real Sociedad.
The first legs of the last-16 fixtures will take place on Thursday March 9, with the second legs a week later on Thursday March 16. The draw for the quarter-finals will take place on Friday March 17.
Europa League last-16 draw:
Union Berlin vs Union Saint-Gilloise
Sevilla vs Fenerbahce
Juventus vs Freiburg
Bayer Leverkusen vs Ferencvaros
Sporting Lisbon vs Arsenal
Manchester United vs Real Betis
Roma vs Real Sociedad
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Feyenoord
West Ham drawn to play Larnaca in ECL
West Ham will face AEK Larnaca in the last 16 of the Europa Conference League.
David Moyes’ Hammers – who reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last season – will make the long trip to Cyprus to face the leaders of the Cypriot First Division next month.
It will also be the third away trip in nine days for the club, who face Manchester United in the FA Cup on Wednesday March 1 and Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday March 4.
Europa Conference League last-16 draw in full:
AEK Larnaca vs West Ham
Fiorentina vs Sivasspor
Lazio vs AZ Alkmaar
Lech Poznan vs Djurgardens
FC Basel vs Slovan Bratislava
Sheriff Tiraspol vs Nice
Anderlecht vs Villarreal
Gent vs Istanbul Basaksehir
Good morning and welcome back to Mirror Football’s live Manchester United takeover blog.
It was a good night on the pitch for Erik ten Hag’s side, who fought back to claim a famous victory over Barcelona on Thursday to advance into the last 16 of the Europa League. The Red Devils will also have an opportunity to claim silverware on Sunday when they meet Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final.
On the takeover front, news has dried up in recent days. Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani have officially lodged bids for the club, but it has since emerged that Joel Glazer may have some ‘reservations’ about actually selling up. Understandably, that has sparked some concern amongst the club’s beleaguered fanbase.
A week on from the ‘soft deadline’ for bids, some of the interested parties future plans have started to emerge, including an interesting transfer stance from the Qatari party.
United had several managers on their radar last season – one of whom was Graham Potter.
Erik ten Hag was the man they eventually turned to, whilst Potter has also got a move, but things at Chelsea are not going to plan.
Here’s a look at why Ten Hag won the battle – and why it is looking a shrewd move.
Erik ten Hag has revealed his half-time team talk was all about instilling belief in his players as they mounted a famous comeback to beat Barcelona in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Dutch coach experienced his finest hours in the United dugout to date as he watched his team overturn a one-goal deficit to book their place in the last 16 in front of a euphoric Old Trafford crowd.
It was quite the turnaround by the Red Devils, who also fought back from a goal down in the first leg to earn a 2-2 draw. Robert Lewandowski’s penalty had given Barcelona the advantage when the teams went in at the break in the second leg, prompting some words of encouragement from Ten Hag to his United players, who he demanded use Casemiro and Aaron Wan-Bissaka more.
Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez wasn’t shy about dishing out praise to Erik ten Hag in the build-up to this week’s eagerly anticipated Europa League showdown with Manchester United.
Xavi’s side headed to Old Trafford off the back of a 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp last week knowing they would need to outwit a team that has made significant progress under a new manager in recent months.
And after talking up Fred prior to Thursday night’s match, Xavi was forced to watch on as Manchester United’s Brazilian midfielder excelled to dump Barcelona out of Europe.
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag clearly thinks very highly of Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong and this was shown yet again by his comments surrounding Fred’s performance on Thursday night.
The Red Devils spent the entirety of last summer trying to pry De Jong away from the Camp Nou to no avail, but it was evident how much admiration Ten Hag has for his former Ajax ace when United hosted Barcelona at Old Trafford. The two teams played out a 2-2 thriller in the first leg of their Europa League round-of-32 clash last week and the tie was evenly balanced ahead of the second leg.
United ran out 2-1 winners on their own patch to dump De Jong and Barcelona out of the competition, but Ten Hag’s praise for Fred following the full-time whistle proves just what he thinks of the Dutch midfield maestro.
Gerard Pique did not hold back in his assessment of Barcelona’s Europa League exit at the hands of Manchester United, describing it as a “f mess”.
United completed a dramatic comeback victory over the Catalan giants as they progressed through to the Round of 16. Goals from Fred and Antony after the break turned the tie around after Robert Lewandowski’s penalty had given the Blaugrana the lead.
It was another fine night for United under their impressive boss Erik ten Hag and continues their momentum, just three days ahead of the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle as the club look to end their six-year trophy drought.
Manchester United will play Real Betis while Arsenal take on Sporting Lisbon in the last-16 of the Europa League.
The Red Devils beat Barcelona over two legs in their knockout play-off, drawing 2-2 with Xavi’s side at the Camp Nou before coming from behind to beat them 2-1 at Old Trafford.
Manchester United will find out their next opponents in the Europa League Draw is about to get under way.
You can follow it in our live blog below.