Manchester United's best and worst potential Europa League draws

Manchester United clinched top spot in Europa League Group L with a 4-0 home win over AZ Alkmaar last night.

That means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeded for Monday’s draw for the knockout stages in Nyon, Switzerland.

There are 14 different potential opponents for United, including four sides who dropped into the competition from their Champions League groups.

So who are the toughest potential opponents? And although there are no easy opponents in Europe, who might Solskjaer prefer to face in the last 32?

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Worst case scenario

Whoever comes out of the hat, United have the advantage of playing the second leg at home.

A meeting with Chris Smalling’s Roma would be a tricky test for United, with the Italians spearheaded by former Manchester City man Edin Dzeko up front.

Another former foe lies also lies in wait, in the shape of ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who manages a Rangers side who would relish a two-legged Battle of Britain in 2020.

A long trip to a tricky Shakhtar Donetsk would not be ideal, and Bruno Fernandes’ Sporting are also a team to avoid.

Elsewhere, Eintracht Frankfurt made last season’s semi-finals, only beaten by Chelsea on penalties, and won at the Emirates Stadium last month.

Of the Champions League rejects, Club Brugge went 2-0 up in the Bernabeu in October, before Real Madrid snatched a 2-2 draw, and Bayer Leverkusen beat Bayern Munich away from home last month.

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No easy games at this level but…

All of the teams in the last 32 are capable sides but Ludogorets only won twice in the group stage and look a gentler test on paper.

United lost in Greece against Olympiacos in 2014, but Tottenham beat them 4-2 in November, they struggle badly on the road and only just struggled past Red Star 1-0 this week.

Copenhagen shocked United back in 2006, but netted just five goals to earn their two group stage wins this time around.

United will need to be on their guard whoever they play, but Solskjaer may already have an idea of the teams he’d prefer to face the trips he’d prefer to make.

Full list of opponents: APOEL, Copenhagen, Getafe, Sporting Lisbon, Cluj, Eintracht Frankfurt, Rangers, Ludogorets, Wolfsburg, Roma, Club Brugge, Olympiacos, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.