English powerhouses Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are each on the road for the opening legs of their UEFA Europa League last-32 matchups on Thursday. They visit Real Sociedad, Benfica and Wolfsberger, respectively, hoping to gain the early edge in their quests for European silverware.
What TV Channel is the Europa League knockout stage on?
This season’s Europa League knockout campaign gets underway on Thursday, with matches shown across TUDN, Galavision and UniMas in the United States. You can live stream Europa League matches on fuboTV.
Europa League Last 32 Fixtures, Schedule
Thursday, February 18
Dynamo Kiev vs. Club Brugge, 10 a.m. ET - TUDNxtra 6
Wolfsberger vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 12:55 p.m. ET - TUDN
Real Sociedad vs. Manchester United, 12:55 p.m. ET - UniMas
FK Crvena Zvezda vs. AC Milan, 12:55 p.m. ET - Galavision
Braga vs. AS Roma, 12:55 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 2
Krasnodar vs. Dinamo Zagreb, 12:55 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 4
Olympiacos vs. PSV Eindhoven, 12:55 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 3
Slavia Prague vs. Leicester City, 12:55 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 1
Young Boys vs. Bayer Leverkusen, 12:55 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 5
Benfica vs. Arsenal, 3 p.m. ET - UniMas
Granada vs. Napoli, 3 p.m. ET - TUDN
Lille vs. Ajax, 3 p.m. ET - Galavision
Royal Antwerp vs. Rangers, 3 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 4
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Shakhtar Donetsk, 3 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 3
Molde vs. Hoffenheim, 3 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 2
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Villarreal, 3 p.m. ET - TUDNxtra 1
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side drop into the Europa League melee after finishing third in their UEFA Champions League group behind Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig. La Real present one of the toughest tests they could have drawn in the last 32, currently fifth in La Liga.
Leicester City are also on the road and face Slavia Prague, while a meeting between Lille and Ajax pits the league leaders of France and the Netherlands against one another. Fireworks are expected when AS Roma travel to Braga, while AC Milan visit Serb giants Crvena Zvezda in the first knockout round.
Elsewhere, an injury-hit Napoli head to Granada hoping to overcome a crocked selection in their first leg, and Villarreal take on 2018 semi-finalists Red Bull Salzburg in the hope of advancing.
A Europa League knockout clash wasn’t where United envisioned themselves after leading their Champions League with two matches remaining. To make matters worse, their drop into the second-tier contest was compounded with an incredibly difficult draw in La Real.
Imanol Alguacil’s side started this campaign in flying form and have overcome a mid-season wobble to go unbeaten in their last seven (90 minutes only), presenting Solskjaer’s men with a tricky task at the Anoeta:
Ex-Manchester City midfielder David Silva will be one familiar face to the visitors, and taking an away-leg advantage from Thursday’s trip will prove crucial to their hopes of progressing.
Premier League peers Arsenal also face a big challenge in surpassing Portuguese giants Benfica, especially after the Gunners have won only one of their last four games.
Primeira Liga powerhouse Porto stunned Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus 2-1 earlier in the week, and Lisbon rivals Benfica will back themselves for an upset of their own. Former Arsenal chief Arsene Wenger appeared on beIN Sports and was full of confidence in his old club, via Chris Wheatley:
Another Portuguese power, Braga, play host to Roma at the Estadio Municipal in what will be the maiden meeting between these teams. Giallorossi manager Paulo Fonseca managed Braga for a single season in 2015-16 and returns to his old offices with much at stake, hoping to hand his former club their first loss in almost a month:
Arguably the must-watch matchup of the round of 32, Ligue 1 leaders Lille welcome Eredivisie pace-setters Ajax, who are also among the teams who dropped out of the Champions League to get here.
Lille finished second in Group H behind Milan and will be in two minds about whether to concentrate resources in Europe, or save their best in a bid to win their first league crown in a decade. Ajax emerged as victors in both home and away fixtures when these clubs met during the 2019-20 Champions League group stage, winning by an aggregate 5-0 scoreline:
In another tense showdown, Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso will pick from a selection of only 12 outfield players for his side’s trip to Granada, which includes six youth players. His ranks have been scorched by injuries of late, while Kalidou Koulibaly and Faouzi Ghoulam both tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in February.
Gattuso remained determined to get a result in what he described to reporters as an “emergency situation,” but Granada will see this as an opportunity to gain the early advantage in the round.