PARIS (AFP) – Manchester United will face La Liga leaders Real Sociedad in the last 32 of the Europa League following Monday’s (Dec 14) draw in Nyon, after they were dumped out of the Champions League last week.
Arsenal also have a tricky tie – with Benfica – after topping their group with six wins from six, while fellow Premier League outfits Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City will clash with Austria’s Wolfsberg and Slavia Prague respectively.
United dropped to the Europa League, which they won in 2017, after RB Leipzig knocked them out of the Europe’s top competition at the group stage.
But Sociedad represent one of the toughest draws of the first knockout round.
They reclaimed top spot in La Liga on Sunday and made it out of the Europa League group stage thanks to a dramatic late draw at Napoli, combined with AZ Alkmaar’s last-gasp defeat at Rijeka.
United meanwhile are eighth in the Premier League after Saturday’s goal-less draw with local rivals Manchester City, although they are only five points behind joint leaders Tottenham and Liverpool (25), having played a game fewer.
Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli, who are four points behind leaders AC Milan in Serie A, will face another Spanish side in the shape of Granada, while Milan have been handed a tie with Red Star Belgrade in a clash of former European champions.
New Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen will take on Swiss side Young Boys, while Ajax face current Ligue 1 leaders Lille after being eliminated from a tough Champions League group that contained Liverpool and Atalanta.
Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers take on Royal Antwerp after finishing above Benfica to top Group D.