Mixed bag for English teams in Champions League draw

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© m.caimary, wikipedia

ARSENAL will face reigning European champions Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League in the hardest fixture for the three English sides competing in the final stages of Europe´s premier tournament.

Chelsea also face a tough challenge having drawn Paris St Germain for the third consecutive season, being knocked out at the same stage on away goals last season.

Manchester City will be grateful to escape the punishing draws of previous seasons, with a relatively simple tie against Dynamo Kyiv. An empty stadium will await Manuel Pelligrini’s side rather than the infamously hostile Ukrainian atmosphere as the Kiev club face UEFA sanction for racist crowd behaviour.

In other fixtures, Juventus, runners up against Barcelona in May, will tackle German champions Bayern Munich in a compelling fixture, whilst Real Madrid will face Roma in another Italian-Spanish clash of the titans. 

Belgian champions Gent enter their first knock-out stages contest against German side Wolfsburg whilst Portuguese champions Benfica will face-off against Russian counterparts Zenit Saint Petersburg, managed by Portuguese Andre Villas-Boas. Reigning Dutch champions PSV will challenge Atletico Madrid in the last of the fixtures. 

The first-legs will take place on February 16/17 and 23/24, whilst the returns will happen two weeks later on March 8/9 and 15/16.

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