Arsenal and Tottenham have been dealt fortunate group stage draws in the Europa League this season, while Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester face a tricky task to progress. The draw was concluded at UEFA headquarters in Switzerland on Friday, when the three Premier League sides waited by eagerly to learn their fate. Arsenal will have to navigate the likes of Molde, Rapid Vienna and Irish minnows Dundalk, while Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham will be clear favourites in a group with Ludogorets, LASK and Antwerp.
Leicester however will have to overcome potential dark horses Braga and AEK Athens. A tricky long distance trip to Ukraine to face Zorya Luhansk also beckons, though the Foxes will still quietly fancy their chances of topping the group. Just across the border Celtic will welcome Italian royalty AC Milan to Glasgow, in what is set to be the headline fixture of the group stage.
Neil Lennon’s side secured qualification at the expense of Sarajevo on Thursday night, though have been rewarded with a place in a group of death alongside Milan, Sparta Prague and Ligue 1 side Lille. Steven Gerrard’s Rangers will also have their work cut out, and must face Benfica and Standard Liege before a tricky trip to Lech Poznan.
A resilient 2-1 victory on Thursday was enough for Rangers to progress in the competition at the expense of Turkish giants Galatasaray, with Gerrard’s men rising in favour with the bookmakers as a result. A draw of note for the neutrals can be found in Group F, after a fascinating selection of European sides were pitted together. The group sees top talent from Italy, Spain and Holland do battle as Napoli, Real Sociedad and AZ Alkmaar look to secure progression. Croatian side Rijeka also comprise the group.
An important point to note ahead of this season’s competition is the fact that Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will not be introduced for the group phase, despite being the original plan. VAR will still be used in the knockout stage, with introduction for the group stage in the 2021/22 season.
EUROPA LEAGUE GROUPS
Red Star Belgrade