Cech back to Czech as Chelsea get easiest Europa League draw

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Chelsea still have the hope of winning a second major European competition in successive seasons and their chances of progress in the Europa League looks fairly smooth after the round of 32 draw.

Petr Cech will return home to face Czech opposition after Chelsea were pulled out with Sparta Prague, although a probable clash with Ajax in the last 16 will be far tougher.

The result is that Chelsea are now favourites to win the Europa League at 6/1.

Across London, there is another goalkeeper return for Hugo Lloris as he will head back to Lyon just months after leaving the French club.

A victory for Spurs may appeal especially to Gareth Bale as Inter Milan are the most likely opposition that await in the last 16.

Despite the draw not developing as well as Spurs may have hoped, Andre Villas-Boas seems set to treat it seriously and 16/1 may prove a big price that they lift the Europa League.

Liverpool would have hoped for something easier than Zenit in the round of 32, especially after losing on their visit to the Russia in the group stage against Anzhi.

The good news is that a victory will ensure one of the easier last-16 clashes with either Basel or Dnipro, with Liverpool 20/1 to be crowned Europa League winners.

Newcastle probably got the worst of the draw from the English clubs as they face Metalist Kharkiv and then potentially another long-distance haul to face Anzhi, making their price of 33/1 to win the competition look about right.

Elsewhere in the draw, Atletico Madrid continue their quest for a third victory in the competition in four seasons by facing Rubin Kazan, while two of the best defensive teams square off when Bayer Leverkusen face Benfica.

Full draw for round of 32
BATE v Fenerbahce
Inter v Cluj
Levante v Olympiacos
Zenit v Liverpool
Kiev v Bordeaux
Leverkusen Benfica
Newcastle v Metalist
Stuttgart v Genk
Atletico Madrid v Rubin
Ajax v Steaua
Basel v Dnipro
Anzhi v Hannover
Sparta v Chelsea – Cech back to Czeh
Monchengladbach v Lazio
Spurs v Lyon
Napoli v Plzen

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.