Man Utd get horror draw against La Liga high-flyers Real Sociedad as Arsenal face Benfica and Spurs take on Wolfsberger

MANCHESTER United and Arsenal were both handed horror Europa League draws as Uefa gave Spurs a much-easier early Christmas present.

United, still reeling from their Champions League exit at the hands of Leipzig, must face surprise La Liga leaders Real Sociedad.

And Mikel Arteta and Arsenal, having a desperate time after four successive home Prem defeats, were drawn against Portuguese giants Benfica.

In stark contrast, Jose Mourinho and Spurs would have been delighted to come out of the hat in Nyon alongside Austrian Euro rookies Wolfsberger.

Leicester will have been equally content at their pairing with Slavia Prague, while Rangers drew Antwerp.

But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Arteta may be forgiven for wondering if the football gods are laughing in their faces.

And that will especially be the case for Solskjaer if former United winger Adnan Januzaj pops up as a ghost to haunt him.

United’s disappointment at dropping out of the Euro elite will have been compounded at pulling out Sociedad, top of La Liga on goal difference from Atletico Madrid.

The Basque outfit have lost just once in their opening 13 La Liga games, although they finished behind Napoli in their group.

In addition to Belgium’s Januzaj, Sociedad have a serious midfield goal threat, with Portu and Mikel Oyarzabal having scored 12 between them this season.

Europa League draw

  • Wolfsberger vs Tottenham
  • Dynamo Kiev vs Club Brugge
  • Real Sociedad vs Man Utd
  • Benfica vs Arsenal
  • Red Star Belgrade vs AC Milan
  • Royal Antwerp vs Rangers
  • Slavia Prague vs Leicester City
  • Red Bull Salzburg vs Villarreal
  • Braga vs Roma
  • Krasnodar vs Dinamo Zagreb
  • Young Boys vs Bayer Leverkusen
  • Molde vs Hoffenheim
  • Granada vs Napoli
  • Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Lille vs Ajax
  • Olympiacos vs PSV

Benfica are second in Portugal, just two points behind neighbours Sporting, and Arteta and his team will be hoping the prospect of running out in the Stadium of Light will energise the struggling Gunners.

Meanwhile, across North London, Mourinho will have been smiling to be paired with Wolfsberger, currently seventh in the Austrian Bundesliga.

Mourinho, twice a winner of the competition at Porto and Manchester United and desperate to land silverware at N17, will expect a better performance than on their last trip to Austria in the 3-3 draw at LASK earlier this month.

Spurs will play their home game in an early kick-off, with a 6pm start on Wednesday February 24, the day before the other 15 second leg ties.

That is because Uefa does not allow the same city to host two matches on the same day and with Arsenal also top seeds in the draw, one of them had to switch.

Leicester will fancy themselves to be stronger than Slavia over two legs, especially with the second leg at home.

And while Steven Gerrard and his Rangers side will know Antwerp are a hurdle – they are the only team since Everton on the opening day of the season to beat Spurs this term – it is one they can overcome.

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