The Gunners visit Sporting CP while Manchester United host Real Betis on Thursday on the back of their 7-0 Liverpool defeat.

The UEFA Europa League is back! Europe's second-tier club competition resumes action this Thursday, with the round of 16 kicking off amidst a cloud of excitement

Two weeks after the Knockout Round Playoffs wrapped up, 16 teams prepare to battle it out for a spot in the quarterfinals. The interesting part will be the return of Arsenal, Real Betis, Real Sociedad, and Freiburg, teams that won their group and were thus given byes to the last 16.

Meanwhile, the likes of Manchester United, Roma, Union Berlin, and Juventus enter this round having fought tooth and nail a fortnight ago.

Which match are you excited to see? Who will secure the upper hand in the first-leg fixtures? Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming ties.

What are the UEFA Europa League round of 16 fixtures?

  • Sporting CP vs Arsenal

  • Union Berlin vs Union Saint-Gilloise

  • Leverkusen vs Ferencvaros

  • Roma vs Real Sociedad

  • Shakhtar Donetsk vs Feyenoord

  • Manchester United vs Real Betis

  • Juventus vs Freiburg

  • Sevilla vs Fenerbahce


Top games to watch in the UEFA Europa League round of 16?

Sporting CP vs Arsenal

Sporting CP might have gone unbeaten against North London opposition already this season, but things haven't been great for the Portuguese giants as of late. The Lions faced Tottenham in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, triumphing at home and drawing at Spurs. However, Amorim's men finished third and thus got relegated to the UEFA Europa League. Domestically, they are in fourth, 15 points behind leaders Benfica, and have won only twice in their last four home games.

Arsenal, meanwhile, enter this clash on the back of their jaw-dropping win over Bournemouth, with Reiss Nelson sealing a 3-2 comeback victory with the last kick of the game despite being 2-0 down by the 57th minute. As a result, the Gunners remain five points clear at the top of the Premier League. The North London giants haven't played in Europe since the group stage as they were given a bye to the round of 16. It will be interesting to see how Arteta rotates his squad given the Premier League title race and the number of injury concerns.

Roma vs Real Sociedad

La Liga's fourth-placed team visits Serie A's fourth-placed club in what is one of the most exciting matchups of this round. The home side, who won the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League title last season, enter this tie on the back of their 1-0 victory over Juventus but were forced to qualify for the round of 16 via the Knockout Round Playoffs after finishing as group runners-up behind Real Betis. Fortunately for Roma, Mourinho's men overcame RB Salzburg and will now fight for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Real Sociedad, meanwhile, will aim to reach the quarterfinals of a European tournament for the first time since 1989. However, the Spanish outfit will need to end their horrendous run against Italian clubs, having won just one out of six encounters. Nonetheless, La Real should be high on confidence after topping their group ahead of Manchester United. Additionally, Imanol Alguacil's side won all of their away games without conceding a single goal.

Manchester United vs Real Betis

The goal for Manchester United heading into this tie will be simple: make amends for their embarrassing loss to Liverpool over the weekend. It has been just a few days since the Red Devils were thrashed 7-0 at Anfield, their greatest-ever defeat in Premier League history. However, the focus shifts back to Europe, where Ten Hag's men have enjoyed recent success, beating Barcelona 4-3 in the Knockout Round Playoffs.

While no one expects Real Betis to thrash Manchester United by a similar scoreline, the Spanish outfit will be keen on pulling off an upset of their own. Manager Manuel Pellegrini, a former Manchester City boss, will return to Old Trafford after helping the club top their group with an unbeaten record, winning five and drawing once. Additionally, Los Verdiblancos have beaten the likes of Almeria, Real Valladolid, and Elche recently while holding Real Madrid to a goalless draw in their most recent fixture.

Who's out for the UEFA Europa League round of 16 1st-leg ties?

Sporting CP: Daniel Braganca (injured)

Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny, Leandro Trossard, and Eddie Nketiah (injured); Gabriel Jesus (doubt); Kieran Tierney (ill)

Roma: Ebrima Darboea and Ola Solbakken (injured)

Real Sociedad: Umar Sadiq, Aritz Elustondo, and Martin Merquelanz (injured)

Manchester United: Donny van de Beek and Christian Eriksen (injured); Anthony Martial (doubt)

Real Betis: Nabil Fekir (injured); Martin Montoya (unavailable)

Leverkusen: Andrey Lunev and Charles Aranguiz (injured)

Juventus: Arkadiusz Milik, Mattia De Sciglio, and Kaio Jorge (injured); Alex Sandro (doubtful)

Where can I watch the UEFA Europa League round of 16 live on TV or on-demand?