The Europa League group stage draw has taken place in Monaco on Friday afternoon,
Despite the presence of five English teams in the Champions League for the first time ever, there is still plenty of Premier League interest in Europe’s secondary club competition with Arsenal and Everton representing the league on the continent.
While the strongest teams (including Arsenal) generally found themselves in Pot 1, there were still a number of sides in the lower pots, including Marseille and Hoffenheim that it promised to be an interesting pairing and maybe not as straightforward as the Gunners might have been expecting. As it turned out, Arsene Wenger can be pretty happy with a draw against BATE Borisov, Cologne and Red Star Belgrade.
Everton, meanwhile, in pot 2 would just have been looking to avoid a trip to the revitalised AC Milan. That did not happen, but Ronald Koeman’s men will still face formidable opposition in Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyonnais and Atalanta from Serie A, as well as Apollon Limassol of Cyprus.
Group A: Villarreal, Maccabi Tel Aviv, FC Astana, Salvia Prague
Group B: Dynamo Kiev, BSC Young Boys, Partizan Belgrade, KF Skenderbeu
Group C: SC Braga, Ludogorets, Hoffenheim, Istanbul Basaksehir
Group D: AC Milan, Austria Vienna, Rijeka, AEK Athens
Group E: Lyon, Everton, Atalanta, Apollon Limassol
Group F: FC Copenhagen, Lokomotiv Moscow, FC Sheriff, FC Zlin
Group G: Viktoria Plzen, Steaua Bucharest, Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Lugano
Group H: Arsenal, BATE Borisov, Cologne, Red Star Belgrade
Group I: Red Bull Salzburg, Marseille, Vitoria SC, Konyaspor
Group J: Athletic Bilbao, Hertha Berlin, Zorya Luhansk, Ostersund
Group K: Lazio, Nice, Zulte Waregem, Vitesse
Group L: Zenit, Real Sociedad, Rosenborg, FK Vardar
The first round of Europa League group fixtures will take place on Thursday, September 14th, with things coming to a head on Thursday, December 7th.
On this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish football podcast, we catch up with Sligo Rovers striker Vinny Faherty after that brilliant win at Cork City last weekend, as well as looking back at last weekend’s Premier Divison matches and ahead to this weekend’s FAI Cup action.