Barca draw Man City in Champions League last 16
Spanish giants Barcelona were handed the toughest possible draw Monday when they were paired with Manchester City in the plum tie of the last 16 of the Champions League.
Champions Bayern Munich were also given a hard draw as they plucked Arsenal for the second year in a row at this stage.
For the English pair, who both finished second in their groups, it was yet again a harsh lesson in the importance of winning the group.
Manchester United and Chelsea, both group winners, were given far more favourable draws against Olympiakos and Galatasaray respectively.
In fairness to Arsenal and City, they did have the toughest possible groups facing one each of last season’s finalists.
City came within a single goal of pipping Bayern to top spot in their group when a 3-2 win in Munich was one goal short of what they needed to overhaul the Bavarians.
Arsenal were within a couple of minutes of winning their group despite losing 2-0 at Napoli on the final match-day but Borussia Dortmund’s late winner in Marseille allowed them to snatch top spot there.
CAME WITHIN A WHISKER
Last season Arsenal drew Bayern in the last 16 and seemed to be as good as out when they lost the first leg 3-1 at the Emirates.
But they came within a whisker of making the quarter-finals when taking the second leg 2-0 at the Allianz Arena, going out only on away goals.
Arsenal have rarely had much luck in the knockout stage draws in recent years having been paired with AC Milan in 2012 and Barcelona in 2011.
In 2010, having beaten Porto in the last 16, they drew Barcelona in the quarter-finals.
French giants Paris Saint-Germain pulled Bayer Leverkusen while AC Milan will face Atletico Madrid.
Last year’s semi-finalists Real Madrid will play Schalke 04 and completing the draw Dortmund are up against Zenit St Petersburg.
The first legs will be played over four separate match-days in February with the second legs taking place three weeks later.