Europa League last-16 draw: Manchester United to face AC Milan; Arsenal to play Olympiakos

Man Utd to be reunited with former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic when they face AC Milan in the last 16 of the Europa League; Arsenal face Olympiakos, Tottenham to play Dinamo Zagreb and Rangers drawn with Slavia Prague

Bruno Fernandes and Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Image: Manchester United's tie with AC Milan is the highlight of the Europa League last-16 draw

Manchester United will face Italian giants AC Milan in the last 16 of the Europa League, while Arsenal have been drawn to play Olympiakos.

United will host the first leg against Milan, which will see their former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic return to Old Trafford.

Arsenal will travel to Greece in the first leg of their tie with Olympiakos, who knocked them out of the Europa League in the round of 32 last season.

Image: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's late goal helped Arsenal past Benfica in the last 32

The Greek champions play their home matches at the Karaiskakis Stadium, the venue for Arsenal's dramatic victory over Benfica in the last 32 of the competition on Thursday.

The Gunners' north London rivals Tottenham will face Dinamo Zagreb, who progressed to the last 32 after beating Russian side Krasnodar.

AP - Mikel Arteta 1:13
David Seaman says Arsenal will be happy with their draw in the last-16 of the Europa League, but should still be wary of Greek champions Olympiakos

Spurs won the UEFA Cup - the previous incarnation of the Europa League - in 1972 and 1984, while their manager Jose Mourinho lifted the trophy with Porto in 2003 and Manchester United in 2017.

All four British teams left in the competition were kept apart after Rangers were drawn to play Slavia Prague, who shocked Leicester in the previous round.

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Lucas Moura celebrates with team-mates after putting Tottenham 3-0 up against Wolfsberger
Image: Tottenham saw off Austrian side Wolfsberger 8-1 on aggregate in the previous round

Elsewhere in the draw, former Arsenal boss Unai Emery - the most successful manager in the history of the Europa League - will see his current side Villarreal take on Dynamo Kiev.

Roma will play 2009 UEFA Cup winners Shakhtar Donetsk, while the 1992 champions Ajax will face Swiss side Young Boys.

Granada will continue their impressive campaign against Norwegian side Molde. The Spanish club are enjoying their first season in European competition and stunned Italian giants Napoli in the previous round.

Alfredo Morelos celebrates with Ianis Hagi after scoring to make it 1-0 Rangers during a UEFA Europa League match between Rangers and Royal Antwerp at Ibrox Stadium, on February 25, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group) 0:45
Kris Boyd warns Rangers that Slavia Prague will be a very tough test when they meet in the Europa League last-16 tie

The first legs of the last-16 ties will take place on March 11, with the return legs a week later.

The quarter-final and semi-final draws will then be held on March 19 in Nyon, Switzerland.

Europa League last-16 draw

  • Ajax vs Young Boys
  • Dynamo Kiev vs Villarreal
  • Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Olympiakos vs Arsenal
  • Dinamo Zagreb vs Tottenham
  • Manchester United vs AC Milan
  • Slavia Prague vs Rangers
  • Granada vs Molde

Zlatan's Man Utd date

Image: Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been pivotal to AC Milan's title tilt

Ibrahimovic's reunion with Manchester United makes for a mouth-watering tie.

The 39-year-old striker established himself as a fan favourite during his short spell at Old Trafford, scoring in the Community Shield and EFL Cup triumphs in 2016/17.

Ibrahimovic played a key role in that season's victorious Europa League run, but a serious knee injury in the quarter-final triumph against Anderlecht ruled him out of the remainder of the campaign.

The veteran only made seven more United appearances after that and looked set to wind down his career when he moved to LA Galaxy in March 2018, but the striker has flourished since returning to Milan and passed a landmark 500 career club goals earlier in February.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he's been impressed by Ibrahimovic this season and is looking forward to facing the veteran striker in the Europa League.

"It's a nice birthday gift, isn't it? To watch that draw," Solskjaer told Manchester United's website.

"We do have the tradition of making it hard for ourselves in draws. It's one of those draws again that you feel could be a Champions League game.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd
Image: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been impressed with Ibrahimovic this season

"It's good for us to have these games to look forward to. This team needs challenges and we enjoy challenges and we embrace them.

"The tradition and history of AC Milan, it's a great club that we welcome and it's a great stadium that we go to there, and we're looking forward to it.

"Zlatan, of course, I've been so impressed, I've got to say, by how his career has gone.

"He had a career-threatening injury when he was here but came back from that and went to [the] MLS, then came back to Milan and has really lifted them. They're on the up and have done really well this season."

Can Zlatan fire AC Milan to Serie A title? Read more...

Head-to-head: Brits sides vs last-16 opponents

Arsenal vs Olympiakos:

  • Arsenal and Olympiakos have previously met on 10 occasions across all European competitions, with no encounter ending level and both teams winning five times each.
  • Olympiakos knocked out Arsenal in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League last season; the Gunners last suffered back-to-back eliminations at the hands of the same side in 2012-13 & 2013-14 against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
  • Against sides from a specific country they have faced more than 10 times in major UEFA competition, only against Italian (55%) and French (54%) opposition have Arsenal won a higher share of their matches than against Greek teams (10/20 - 50%).

Man Utd vs AC Milan:

  • The first leg will be the 11th meeting between Manchester United and AC Milan in European competition, with all 10 previous meetings coming in the European Cup/Champions League.
  • Manchester United have been eliminated from four of their five knockout ties with AC Milan, with no side eliminating United more often in UEFA European competition (also Real Madrid, 4, excluding Super Cups).
  • In their last meeting in March 2010, Manchester United won 4-0 against AC Milan - it is the Italians' joint-heaviest defeat in major UEFA European competition (excluding Super Cups).

Tottenham vs Dinamo Zagreb:

  • Tottenham Hotspur and Dinamo Zagreb have met only once before in European competition; Spurs beat Dinamo 4-0 at home during the group stages of the UEFA Cup in 2008-09, a game in which Darren Bent scored a hat-trick.
  • Tottenham Hotspur have played Croatian opposition on seven previous occasions, with six of those being against Hajduk Split. They have won five times and lost twice, with both of those losses away to Hajduk (1984 and 1991).
  • Dinamo Zagreb have lost nine of their last 10 matches against English sides in European competition, winning the other game 2-1 against Arsenal in the Champions League group stages in 2015.

Rangers vs Slavia Prague

  • This will be Rangers' first meeting with Slavia Prague in European competition; they last faced Czech opposition in the 2002-03 UEFA Cup first round, going out on away goals to Viktoria Zizkov.
  • Despite winning all three of their home games against Czech opponents in European competition, Rangers have been eliminated in each such tie - to Dukla Prague in the 1981-82 Cup Winners' Cup, Sparta Prague in the 1991-92 European Cup and Viktoria Zizkov in the 2002-03 UEFA Cup.
  • Rangers will be the third Scottish club to face Slavia Prague in major European competition; both of the previous two progressed - St. Mirren in the 1985-86 UEFA Cup first round and Hearts in the 1992-93 UEFA Cup first round.

Europa League 20/21: Key dates

  • April 8 & 15: Quarter-finals
  • April 29 & May 6: Semi-finals
  • May 26: Final (Gdansk, Poland)
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