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Tough Italian job for top-flight English clubs

England's last two Champions League representatives were handed a daunting draw in the last 16 on Friday as Arsenal were drawn to face AC Milan while Chelsea were paired with Napoli.

sports Updated: Dec 17, 2011 01:44 IST

England's last two Champions League representatives were handed a daunting draw in the last 16 Friday as Arsenal were drawn to face AC Milan while Chelsea were paired with Napoli.

Arsenal, who qualified as group winners, will travel to Milan for the first leg at the San Siro in February before the return fixture at the Emirates in early March.

The game gives Milan a chance to avenge their exit to Arsenal in the knockout stage in 2008, when the Gunners eliminated the then reigning champions with a win in the San Siro.

Arsenal club secretary David Miles admitted the Londoners would have preferred to have avoided the Italian giants in the opening knockout round.

"I would suggest that's probably the pick of the round," Miles told Sky Sports television following the draw in Nyon. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/171211/17-12-11-metro23b.jpg

"It's going to be a fantastic two games.

"If I'm being honest there are probably some other teams we may have preferred.

"But what we mustn't forget is the last time we played Milan in the season 07/08 we actually went through and we won 2-0 in the San Siro.

"So our recent history against Milan is good and we're obviously looking forward to these two fixtures."

Arsenal also had a good record against Italian teams, eliminating both Roma and Inter Milan in the past.

"We've knocked out Roma and Inter Milan in our recent history, including a 5-1 win in the San Siro," Miles said. "It's going to be tough. Everyone has earned the right to get to this stage but nevertheless we're fairly confident."

Injured Villa out for five months
Yokohama: Striker David Villa will be out for up to five months after breaking his left leg in Barcelona's 4-0 Club World Cup semi-final victory over Al Sadd of Qatar.

The news also represents a setback for Spain as they prepare to defend their European Championship title in Poland and Ukraine next year. "This injury is a tough blow but I am convinced I am going to recover quickly and am thinking about playing the (Champions League) final in Munich (in May)," Villa said on Facebook.