England's two surviving representatives in the Champions League, Chelsea and Arsenal, were handed tough ties against Italian opposition in Friday's draw for the last 16, while holders Barcelona will come up against Germany's Bayer Leverkusen.
The prize: The UEFA Champions League trophy on display during the
draw for the last 16 at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon yesterday. Pic/AFP
Chelsea will take on Napoli, while Arsenal will meet reigning Serie A champions AC Milan, with both Premier League clubs travelling to Italy first. Chelsea have never previously faced Napoli, but they will know not to take Walter Mazzarri's side lightly after they qualified for the last 16 at the expense of Manchester City. The 2008 beaten finalists have also only ever won once in Italy in seven attempts.
"I think that at this stage we can come up with the cliches about it being difficult, and it will be difficult because we've seen that Napoli were in the same group as Manchester City, so that reflects on the quality of Napoli," Chelsea secretary David Barnard said.
Paris: Arsenal's Champions League last 16 fixture against AC Milan is a repeat of their meeting at the same stage in 2007-08. On that occasion the Gunners won 2-0 on aggregate, with Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor scoring late goals in the second-leg at the San Siro after a goalless first-leg.
"It's going to be a fantastic two games," Arsenal club secretary David Miles told Sky Sports after the draw, before admitting: "But there are probably some other teams we may have preferred." Milan have also been eliminated by English clubs (Tottenham & Man Utd) in the round of 16 in each of the last two campaigns.
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