• By Yann Tear

Europa draw sends Arsenal to Portugal, with Spurs handed Austria trip - plus Tier 3 blow for fans


Arsenal have a prestigious round of 32 Europa League tie to look forward to in the new year against Lisbon giants Benfica.

North London rivals Tottenham have been paired against Austrian side Wolfsberger.

Both teams will play the second legs on home soil in the capital.

The Gunners, beaten by Chelsea in the final two seasons ago, are in the middle of a domestic crisis, having lost four at home in a row for the first time since 1959, but have been flawless so far in their European campaign - winning all six groups-stage fixtures against Dundalk, Molde and Rapid Vienna.

Benfica, also beaten by Chelsea in a previous Europa League final, will represent a tougher proposition, although their unbeaten group stage was only good enough for second place behind Glasgow Rangers.

They currently sit second in the Portuguese Primeira Liga.

Wolfsberger - also known as RZ Pellets WAC - are playing in the competition for the first time, having finished third in the Austrian Bundesliga last season. They are a modest seventh in this season's table and were runners-up to Dinamo Zagreb in their group. Spurs will be clear favourites to progress to final 16.

The ties will be on February 18 and 25.

Meanwhile, the Government's announcement that London is to be placed into Tier 3 from Wednesday means fans will no longer be able to attend Arsenal's home match against Southampton at Emirates, Fulham's clash with Brighton at Craven Cottage or the West Ham v Crystal Palace derby at London Stadium in two days' time.

The weekend games will also be played behind closed doors and expectant ticket holders have the disappointment of missing out at Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Brentford v Reading, Millwall v Forest, Leyton Orient v Crawley, Spurs v Leicester (Sunday) and Chelsea v West Ham (Monday night).

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