Football

Spotlight on only English manager left in this term's Uefa tourneys

The only English manager left in this season's European competitions stands in the way of Arsenal in the Europa League Round of 32.

Last night, the Gunners were drawn against Swedish club Ostersunds. They are coached by 42-year-old Graham Potter, who had led the minnows to the Swedish Cup last season.

Potter had taken the team from the Swedish fourth division to the top flight in six seasons.

The former journeyman footballer, who had played for clubs such as Stoke City, Southampton, West Brom and Reading, came on as a substitute in the Saints' famous 6-3 win over Manchester United on Oct 26, 1996, when the likes of Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Peter Schmeichel all played.

Potter said on Ostersunds' website: "I think it's really cool to go home to England and meet one of the best teams in the Premier League. Now we are really underdogs."

Coincidentally, Ostersunds were formed on Oct 31, 1996, barely a week after the 6-3 win, and only 30 days after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had officially taken up his post at the London club.

In what appears to be the toughest of the Europa League last-32 draws, Italian high flyers Napoli will meet Germany's RB Leipzig.

Both sides were among eight teams to have dropped out of the Champions League and both are currently second in their respective domestic leagues.

In another German-Italian tie, Borussia Dortmund, who had just replaced Peter Bosz with former Cologne coach Peter Stoeger, will face Atalanta.

Once-mighty AC Milan, who are coached by former player Gennaro Gattuso, will meet Bulgaria's Ludogorets, while Lazio, helmed also by an ex-player, Simone Inzaghi, will meet Romania's Steaua Bucharest. - WIRE SERVICES

EUROPA LEAGUE ROUND OF 32 FIXTURES*

  • Borussia Dortmund v Atalanta
  • Celtic v Zenit St Petersburg
  • FC Copenhagen v Atletico Madrid
  • Napoli v RB Leipzig
  • Steaua Bucharest v Lazio
  • Ludogorets v AC Milan
  • Ostersunds v Arsenal
  • Spartak Moscow v Athletic Bilbao

*Selected

Football