Europa League: Tottenham v Lyon, Newcastle v Charkow, Liverpool v Zenit and Chelsea – Prague

21/12/2012 no comments »
Europa League: Tottenham v Lyon, Newcastle v Charkow, Liverpool v Zenit and Chelsea – Prague

English team face tough opponents in the Europa League -round of the last 32. Tottenham faces with Olympique Lyon one of the toughest opponents still left in the competition. Newcastle will play the uprise team of the Europa League – Metalist Charkow. Liverpool faces a hostile reception in Russia and Chelsea will play

The Spurs will face one of toughest opponents left in the Europa League – Olympique Lyon. Lyon, who won the French league title seven times, finished top of Group I unbeaten with five wins and a draw against Sparta Prague. They are also in the leading group of the French league with Paris St. Germaine and Marseille and battling for the French title. Andre Villas-Boas said: “It’s an exciting game so early in the competition, against a top team, and it will fuel the excitement of a big, big fixture. The first leg will be at White Hart Lane on Thursday, February 14 with the away leg at Lyon’s Stade de Gerland a week later on Thursday, February 21.

Newcastle United will face the Ukraininan club Metalist Charkow. Metalist is the surprise team in the Europa League finishing on top in Group K ahead of Bayer Leverkusen, Rosenborg and Rapid Vienna. Pardew’s team also faces some injury issues currenty with Yohan Cabaye,Gabriel Obertan and Hatem Ben Arfa all being questionable for the next games. Newcastle will host the first leg on February 14th before travelling to the Ukraine. Pardew knows that will be difficult for his team and their fans and said: “It’s a tough draw in terms of the travel. The opposition, I know very little about. I do know it’s a long journey and they won the group so it’s a tough agenda for us.”

Brendan Rodgers’ side will have to make a very uncomfortable trip to Russia and face Zenit St Petersburg on February 14 and 21, 2013. Zenit is the current Russian champion. The 2008 Uefa Cup winner from Russia finished 3rd in the Champions League Group C just behind Malaga and AC Milan. The first leg will take place at the Petrovsky Stadium and Liverpool can expect a hostile environment. Zenit fans are known as some of the most extreme and just recently published a manifesto calling for black and homosexual players to be banned from playing for the club. Liverpool will meet FC Basel or Ukranians FC Dnipro in the last 16 if they progress.

FC Chelsea was paired with Czech football club Sparta Prague in the round of 32 after the disappointing Champions League exit. The two teams met in the group stage of the Champions League in 2003/04, where the Blues won 1-0 in Prague with aWilliam Gallas goal and then drawing 0-0 at home. Also, Peter Cech is returning to his former club, so it will be a special game for him. Sparta reached the last 32 after finishing second in Group I behind Lyon and ahead of Athletic Bilbao and Hapoel Kiryat Shmona. Chelsea can potentially face Ajax or Steaua Bucharest in the round of the last 16 in March. The away match against Sparta will take place on 14 February with the second leg at Stamford Bridge on 21 February.

 

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