Nyon - Arsenal
were once again drawn against Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the UEFA
Champions League on Monday, while Barcelona will also come up against
familiar foes in the shape of Paris Saint-Germain.
Arsene Wenger's side had hoped winning their group for the first time
in five years would spare them a tie against one of the continent's
giants in the first knockout round, but instead they must face Carlo
Ancelotti's German champions, who came second in their section, with the
first leg in Bavaria.
Bayern eliminated Arsenal en route to winning the trophy in 2012/13
and repeated the feat a year later, while the teams also met in the
group stage last season - the Gunners won 2-0 in London but then lost
5-1 at the Allianz Arena.
"It's an interesting and difficult draw. We know Arsenal from the
last few years when we often played against them, twice already in the
last 16, when we had a good experience and got through," said Bayern
goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
"Arsenal are a strong team and I rate them as stronger at the moment than in the last few years."
PSG came second to Arsenal in Group A, leaving them more vulnerable
to a tough draw and five-time winners Barcelona have eliminated the
French club in the quarter-finals in two of the past four seasons, while
the teams also met in the group stage in 2014/15.
Recent history favours the Catalans, and so does current form, with
Unai Emery's side having squandered the chance to top their group by
drawing at home to Ludogorets of Bulgaria last week.
"If I could have chosen another team, I would have done," admitted
Paris director of football Patrick Kluivert, a former Barcelona striker.
Barcelona vice president Jordi Mestre told beIN Sports Spain: "It is
true that of the (possible) options Bayern Munich was possibly the
strongest, with respect to the rest, but PSG are also a great team.
"There is no guarantee but it does give you a certain confidence to
have beaten them before. Every game is different and we will see what
champions Real Madrid will face Napoli as they look to win the trophy
for a record 12th time, while Pep Guardiola's Manchester City face a
testing two-legged encounter against Monaco.
City, currently struggling for form, cannot afford to take the
principality side lightly - they are the most prolific side in Europe's
leading leagues this season and have beaten Arsenal and Tottenham
Hotspur in the Champions League in the past two years.
"We are happy to be here, and then we have avoided Real Madrid and
Barcelona," City's director of football Txiki Begiristain told BT Sport.
"Monaco are playing probably the best football in France now. In a
group with Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen they were top and they have
young players and a lot of talent."
Premier League champions Leicester City will take on last season's
Europa League winners Sevilla as a reward for topping their group in
their debut appearance in the competition, with a visit to the Sanchez
Pizjuan in the first leg.
Atletico Madrid, runners up to city rivals Real in two of the last
three seasons, were drawn against Bayer Leverkusen in a repeat of their
clash at the same stage in 2014/15. On that occasion, Atletico emerged
victorious after a tense penalty shoot-out.
Two-time winners Juventus were drawn against FC Porto, while Borussia
Dortmund also face Portuguese opposition in the shape of Benfica.
Draw for the last 16 of the Champions League made in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday:
Manchester City (ENG) v Monaco (FRA)
Real Madrid (ESP) v Napoli (ITA)
Benfica (POR) v Borussia Dortmund (GER)
Bayern Munich (GER) v Arsenal (ENG)
FC Porto (POR) v Juventus (ITA)
Bayer Leverkusen (GER) v Atletico Madrid (ESP)
Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) v Barcelona (ESP)
Sevilla (ESP) v Leicester City (ENG)
First legs to be played on February 14/15 and 21/22, second legs on March 7/8 and 14/15