Arsenal chiefs believe this could be the season they end their dismal run against Bayern Munich after being drawn to play the German giants in the Champions League last 16 for the third time in five years.
The Gunners’ hopes that winning their group might secure an easier opponent in the knockout stage ran aground as they were paired with Bayern, who have reached at least the semi-finals five years running.
Bayern eliminated Arsenal at this stage in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and thrashed them 5-1 in last season’s group stage, yet club officials say they are optimistic their luck could change.
“We thought it might happen,” said Arsenal general secretary David Miles. “The fans will think we’ve got the rough end of the draw again but at some stage the tide’s got to turn, so why not this time?”
What did Manchester City say?
Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain welcomed avoiding Spain’s big two but warned of the threat posed by a Monaco side who beat Tottenham twice.
“We are happy to be here, and we have avoided Real Madrid and Barcelona,” he said. “Monaco are playing probably the best football in France now. It’s a new adventure for everybody here and it is a good draw.”
What did Leicester City say?
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri urged his teams fans to relish a tie with Sevilla but admitted the Premier League champions would be underdogs against a team who have won the Europa League three years in succession.
“For us it is a tough but very exciting draw against a team who are used to fighting in Europe,” he said. “For the fans, it is good because Spain is a fantastic country and a lot of English people enjoy going there.”
Full Champions League last 16 draw
Manchester City v Monaco
Real Madrid v Napoli
Benfica v Borussia Dortmund
Bayern Munich v Arsenal
Porto v Juventus
Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid
Paris Saint-Germain v Barcelona
Sevilla v Leicester
First legs to be played on 14, 15, 21, 22 February 2017, second legs 7, 8, 14, 15 March