by ‘Ifreke Inyang
In other fixtures, defending champions, Barcelona have been drawn against German side Bayer Leverkusen, who finished second in Chelsea’s group
The draws for the next stages of the UEFA Champions League were made on Friday afternoon in Nyon. The EPL duo of Arsenal and Chelsea were handed tough Italian jobs – they will play current Champions, AC Milan and Napoli, who sent Manchester City out in the group stages.
The AC Milan – Arsenal tie will be a repeat of the 2008 second round game, where the Gunners defeated Milan 2-0 at the San Siro to progress to the knock out stages. The secretary of Arsenal, David Miles, tagged the fixture as the ‘pick of the round.’ “There were probably other teams we would have preferred but the last time we played them in the knockout stage, in ’07-08, we actually went through to win 2-0 in the San Siro,” he said. “We also knocked out, in fairly recent history, Roma and Inter Milan. It’s going to be tough. Everyone has earned the right to get to this stage but nevertheless, we’re confident and it’s going to be two great games. I would guess it’s probably the pick of the round.”
David Barnard, the secretary of Chelsea, admitted Napoli represented a tough draw for the Blues. “It will be difficult having seen Napoli when they were in the same group as Man City,” he said. “Unfortunately City are no longer with us which reflects the quality of Napoli. It’s a new experience for us with this club. Andre has experience in Italy though from when he was with Inter so he know the ins and outs of Napoli.”
In other fixtures, defending champions, Barcelona have been drawn against German side Bayer Leverkusen, who finished second in Chelsea’s group. FC Basel, who are in the knockout round for the first time, have been handed a tie against Bayern Munich, while 2010 winners, Inter Milan will play French champions, Marseille.
APOEL Nicosia, who made their debut this season, will fancy their chances against knockout stage regulars Lyon, and the two Russian clubs will face teams from Iberia as CSKA Moscow take on Real Madrid and Zenit St Petersburg will meet Benfica.
Here are the complete fixtures:
Lyon v APOEL Nicosia
Napoli v Chelsea
AC Milan v Arsenal
FC Basel v Bayern Munich
Bayer Leverkusen v Barcelona
CSKA Moscow v Real Madrid
Zenit St Peterburg v Benfica
Marseille v Inter Milan
First games to be played on Feb 14-15, 21-22