The for the first knockout round of this season’s Europa League took place in Nyon on Monday afternoon, with Celtic and Arsenal awaiting the results.
Arsene Wenger’s side had little trouble progressing from a group containing FC Koln, BATE Borisov and Red Star Belgrade, while Brendan Rodgers will consider it a success that his side are even still in Europe at all having lost five of their six Champions League group clashes.
With the former seeded and latter unseeded, the difference in quality of potential opponents was almost certainly going to be pronounced, and with Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, CSKA Moscow, Spartak Moscow,Sporting CP and RB Leipzig all dropping down, the standard of competition rose significantly.
Of the two British sides, Celtic were drawn out first – and Rodgers’men face a trip to Russia to take on Zenit. Arsenal, meanwhile, were one of the last teams drawn out and they will face Swedish side Ostersunds, managed by Englishman Graham Potter.
Europa League First Knockout Draw in Full:
Borussia Dortmund v Atalanta
Nice v Lokomotiv Moscow
FC Copenhagen v Atletico Madrid
Spartak Moscow v Athletic Club
AEK Athens v Dynamo Kiev
Celtic v Zenit
Napoli v RB Leipzig
Red Star Belgrade v CSKA Moscow
Lyon v Villarreal
Real Sociedad v FC Salzburg
Partizan Belgrade v Viktoria Plzen
Steaua Bucharest v Lazio
Ludogorets v AC Milan
Astana v Sporting CP
Ostersunds v Arsenal
Marseille v Braga
The first legs of the above ties will take place on Thursday the 15th of February, with the return leg occurring the following Thursday (the 22nd).