Europa League draw – Manchester sides get tough task, Stoke get glamour tie

The three remaining English clubs in the last 32 of the Europa League face tricky fixtures against some of Europe’s best sides.

Manchester City, current Premier League leaders, face a difficult trip to the Estadio do Dragao to face Portuguese champions Porto. Porto won the Europa League last season under Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas and will be difficult to beat as they look to win the trophy concurrently. If City progress to the last 16, they face either Polish side Legia Warsaw or another Portuguese outfit in Sporting Lisbon.

Manchester United take on Dutch giants Ajax in their knockout fixture. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men are in the Europa League for the first time and have been drawn against Ajax, who dropped from the Champions League after being knocked out. The Premier League champions, if they make it past Ajax, face a relatively easier tie against Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow or Athletic Bilbao of Spain.

Stoke City face Valencia, who also narrowly missed out on their place in the last 16 of the Champions League. Tony Pulis’ side will have home advantage against the Spanish giants and will look to build from that if they want to progress. The Potters will face either Turkish side Trabzonspor or Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, should they progress against Valencia.

Other standout ties see Italian side Lazio take on Spanish club Atletico Madrid and Russian side Rubin Kazan against Greek giants Olympiacos. Last season’s beaten finalists Braga take on Turkish side Besiktas.

The ties for the last 32 take place on the 16th and 23rd February and the ties for the final 16 will take place on the 8th and 15th March.

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