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Manchester United will play their third Spanish team in this season’s Europa League after they drew Real Betis in the last 16 draw earlier today. The Red Devils have previously faced Real Sociedad in the group stages of the competition and Barcelona in the round of 32.
Erik Ten Hag’s men have had mixed results against Spanish opposition so far this season. It was effectively their 1-0 loss to Real Sociedad at Old Trafford that meant they failed to top their Europa League group. However, on the flip side, their 2-1 victory over Barcelona last night was arguably their best result of the season.
While Real Betis shouldn’t cause United as many headaches as Barcelona, they are a very accomplished team. Managed by veteran manager, Manuel Pellegrini, Betis are currently pushing for a top-four spot in La Liga and will fancy their chances of causing an upset against United.
Erik Ten Hag will not be fearful, though. After beating Barcelona he was very proud of his team and will now fancy his chance of managing them to the final in Budapest in May. Speaking after the match last night he called the victory his “biggest win” as Manchester United boss. He added:
“We’ve had some good wins – Liverpool and Arsenal at home but I think this, over two legs, against Barcelona – leaders in La Liga by eight points, is my biggest win.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 24, 2023
Arsenal to play Sporting Lisbon
The other English team left in the draw, Arsenal, have also been given a tricky draw. They will face Sporting Lisbon over two legs after the Portuguese outfit stormed past Midtjylland in the round of 32.
It will be the second time this season that Sporting will have played in North London. Earlier in the campaign, they faced Tottenham in the Champions League with the two sides playing out a 1-1 draw at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Rúben Amorim’s side narrowly missed out on qualifying for the latter stages of the Champions League and had to settle for a place in the Europa League instead. Now they have a tie with Arsenal to look forward to, though, they will be going for it with everything they have.
Arsenal won their Europa League during the first half of the season meaning they skipped the previous round. It will be interesting to see whether Mikel Arteta uses the competition to rest key players as they continue their assault on the Premier League or if he will try and win Arsenal their first European trophy since 1994.
The rest of the draw
The other six ties that were drawn out of the hat this morning are as follows:
- Union Berlin vs Union Saint-Gilloise
- Sevilla vs Fenerbahce
- Juventus vs Freiburg
- Bayer Leverkusen vs Ferencvaros
- Roma vs Real Sociedad
- Shakhtar Donetsk vs Feyenoord
The first legs of all of these fixtures are set to take place on Thursday 9th of March with the return legs taking place a week later on the 16th of March. Manchester United will play at home first while Arsenal will play away.
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