Europa League: Who awaits Arsenal in last 32 draw
PUBLISHED: 11:51 17 December 2018
Arsenal will learn their Europa League fate on Monday afternoon as the draw for the round of 32 will be made.
The Gunners topped their group, seeing off Sporting Lisbon, Vorksla and Qarabag, winning five out of the six games of group E.
Having finished top, Arsenal will avoid some potentially threatening opponents, as the group winners along with the four best Champions League drop-outs play the group runners up.
With only three British teams in the competition, Arsenal could potentially meet Scottish Champions Celtic in the next round, however cannot be drawn against Chelsea as they too won their group.
Along with Celtic, the Gunners’ potential opponents include:
FC Zurich, Slavia Praga, Fenerbahce, BATE Borisov, Olympiacos, Rapid Vienna, Lazio, Malmo, Krasnodar, Stade Rennais, Club Brugge, Galatasaray, Shakhtar Donetsk and Viktoria Plzen.
Unai Emery is known as a Europa league expert having won the competition three times - the joint highest winner shared with former Inter Milan and Juventus manager Giovanni Trapattoni.
Despite having such a formidable record, it certainly won’t be a walk in the park for the Spaniard this year, with the likes of Chelsea, Napoli and Inter Milan in the competition.
It isn’t just the big guns that could prove a threat to Arsenal, and with regard to the round of 32, there are some teams that shouldn’t be belittled.
Club Brugge dropped out of the Champions League after finishing third behind Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid in Group A.
The Belgians held both Borussia Dortmund to a 0-0 draw at the Westfalenstadion and also kept Atletico Madrid quiet in a 0-0 draw in Bruges. The highlight of their time in the competition was thrashing Thierry Henry’s AS Monaco 4-0 at the Stade Louis II.
Shakhtar Donetsk are another team to watch, as they battled hard in their group amongst the likes of Manchester City, Lyon and TSG Hoffenheim.
Despite facing two heavy defeats to City, the Ukranian’s drew twice to Lyon, and gained a dramatic last-minute victory away to an impressive Hoffenheim side.
Shakhtar’s top scorer Junior Moraes, is also the top scorer in Ukranian League, having bagged 18 goals in 25 matches in all competitions this campaign. Any team would have a task keeping the Brazilian quiet, and will certainly be one to watch in the competition.
Pushing potential threats out of the picture, one of the most alarming things that Arsenal have to face is a 5pm kick off in the home leg of the round of 32.
The chaos of an early mid-week kick off comes as Chelsea’s game is set to be played on Thursday and so to avoid a clash, Arsenal’s game will take place the day before.