UEFA Champions League final ambassador Javier Zanetti shows the name of FC Barcelona football club during the draw for the UEFA Champions league round of sixteen, on December 14, 2015. (AFP Photo)
The UEFA Champions League Last 16 draw produced some familiar fixtures as defending champions Barcelona will be facing Arsenal for the third time in the last five years, while struggling Chelsea will take on in-form French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
Barcelona eliminated Arsenal in the 2010 quarterfinals and in the round of 16 in 2011, and was also the team who defeated the English club in the 2006 final.
Arsenal will host the five-time champions on February 23 after booking their spot in the knockout round for the 16th straight season. The Gunners will be hoping to end a five-year losing streak at the round-of-16 stage after they were dumped out of the competition by AS Monaco last year.
French champion PSG and Chelsea will be meeting for the third consecutive season in the knockout phase. Chelsea won in the quarterfinals in 2014 but PSG advanced from the round of 16 last season.
PSG, which set a competition record conceding only one goal in its group, could be the favorite against Chelsea for the first time.
“This is the third year we play against Chelsea so it has become some kind of a ‘clasico’ for us,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said. “We will be ready.”
UEFA Competitions Director Giorgio Marchetti looks at the match fixtures on an electronic panel following the draw of the 2015/16 Champions League Round of 16 at the UEFA Headquarters. (AP)
Also, five-time champion Bayern Munich will play away first against 2015 runner-up Juventus, while record 10-time champion Real Madrid will face Roma.
Bayern beat the Italian champion Juventus in the quarterfinals when it last won the trophy three seasons ago.
“We might have hoped to be luckier in this draw but I like our team in Europe so far,” Juventus vice president Pavel Nedved said.
However, there was one fresh look in the eight pairings as the two newcomers to the knockout rounds were drawn together: Gent will host Wolfsburg first in Belgium.
“It appears doable, without taking the rival lightly,” Wolfsburg managing director Klaus Allofs said.
The other fixtures in the Last 16 of the competition are: PSV Eindhoven vs. Atletico Madrid; Dynamo Kiev vs. Manchester City; and Benfica vs. Zenit St. Petersburg.
City’s first leg in Kiev will be played in an empty stadium because Dynamo has been sanctioned by UEFA for racist incidents involving fans.
The first legs will be played on Feb. 16-17 and 23-24, with the second legs scheduled for March 8-9 and 15-16.