Europa League last 16 draw simulated as Man Utd & Arsenal dealt tough ties

Usually Europe’s secondary club competition behind the Champions League, the Europa League has earned some prestige this season thanks to some brilliant games and the involvement of giant clubs.

The knockout playoff round saw Manchester United and Barcelona square off in two classic outings as the Red Devils prevailed 4-3 on aggregate. Juventus, Roma and Sevilla were among the other teams to reach the last 16, while Arsenal did not feature in the playoff round having won their Europa League group.

All eyes will be cast on the the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday morning at 11:00 GMT as sides and fans tune in to find out their next Thursday night opponents.

We put the remaining teams into a simulator to see which ties could be dealt in the last 16.

If Friday’s draw throws up as many good ties as our simulator has, fans across Europe are in for a good time.

Arsenal and Manchester United cannot be drawn against each other due to being from the same territory but they were still given tough assignments in their bids for European football.

Erik ten Hag has already joked with Robin van Persie that he would consult the former Dutch striker if United draw Feyenoord. “If we draw Feyenoord, I know who to go to for all the information!” he said.

There’ll be no Van Persie reunion with Arsenal just yet as the Gunners qualified as group winners. Instead, our simulator has paired them with Europa League specialists Sevilla.

Los Nervionenses have won Europe’s secondary competition six times, including recent triumphs in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2020.

Juventus managed to avoid a scare against Nantes as Angel Di Maria netted a hat trick in a 3-0 away win. Our sim pits the Italian giants against Hungarian side Ferencvaros, who they faced during the 2020/21 Champions League group stage. Juve won those matches 4-1 and 2-1.

The last 16 games in the 2022/23 Europa League are scheduled to be played on 9 and 16 March. The eight group stage winners are seeded and the playoff victors are unseeded.