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The UEFA Europa League Round of 16 Draws: The final might be played sooner than we expect

The circumstances surrounding European football in recent days have had football fans presented with a host of exhilarating moments. Served with top performances in all tiers of football, football fans are eating good right now. Kylian Mbappe scored a hat trick at Camp Nou to lead PSG to a 4-1 win against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League First Leg two weeks ago. Erling Haaland took up the challenge and followed up with a brace of his own against Traditional Europa League Kings Sevilla to put them in a strong position for the second leg. He also scored a brace in the weekend to follow-up his exploits in Europe – a performance that he capped with a brilliant bicycle kick goal.

Olivier Giroud, who has been very brilliant for Chelsea in European competitions this year also scored the only goal (an overhead kick) in the Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid game to give Chelsea an important away goal and win. Just this week, Dele Alli scored another overhead kick of his own to lengthen the highlight reel of acrobatic goals we have seen in the last two weeks. Player performances aside, there are top performances from clubs as well with Manchester City’s 19 game winning streak the head of them all.

Football Associations have also gifted us with beautiful football draws this season, especially in Europe where a team like Manchester United faced last season’s Finalists and Semi-Finalists n their group stage draw, Unstoppable forces – Bayern Munich met rather unmovable objects – Atletico Madrid, GOAT contenders Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo faced each other in Europe in what could be their last meeting together on a football pitch, Neymar had a chance to visit the Camp Nou again and so on.

We are about to witness another of these supposed heavyweight meetings will be taking place in the Europa League as Manchester United, bundled out of the Champions League despite their bright start will be facing AC Milan who have been bundled out of the League Leadership position in the Serie A despite a bright start as well. This fixture is a game between two of the biggest “Has-beens” in the history of world football. A look into the records show us that AC Milan were European heavyweights in the 00s with appearances in the 2005 and 2007 UCL final. Manchester United have stories of their own with 3 UCL Final appearances between 2009 and 2011.

The current tale of both clubs is bittersweet as they have had tastes of the past days of glory but they have dwindled even in the midst of this. The game is one which could be a determinant of which team is closer to the top as the Europa League is probably both teams, chance to glory this season. As a matter of fact, the emotions and intent that could go behind the game would make the game a better suit for the final of the competition than any other game. Something to note going into the game however is that AC Milan have knocked Manchester United out of Europe 4 times in their last 5 meetings.

Other fixtures include:

Ajax vs. Young Boys

Dynamo Kyiv vs Villareal

Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk

Olympiacos vs Arsenal

Dinamo Zagreb vs Tottenham

Slavia Praha vs Rangers

Granada vs Molde

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