Europa League draw: Arsenal and Everton face tough challenge

The Uefa Europa League draw for 2017-2018 season has just been concluded on Friday. The draw sees Arsenal and Everton face challenging tests on their return to the Europa League following Friday’s group stage draw in Monaco.

Both English sides face difficult tasks to advance to the knockout stages when the group phase begins on September 14.

It is the first time in 20 years that Arsenal have started a European campaign in the Europa League.

The Gunners had advanced to the knockout stages of the Champions League but lost in the first knock-out round in the last seven seasons and failed to qualify for the tournament through the Premier League in 2016-17.

Everton, who completed their play-off victory over Hajduk Split of Croatia on Thursday, are in Europe for the first time since 2009-10.

Arsenal were drawn to play Belarus’ BATE Borisov, Cologne of Germany and Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade in Group H.

Everton will play France’s Lyon – hosts of this season’s final – Italy’s Atalanta and< Apollon Limassol of Cyprus in Group E.

Manchester United won the trophy in May to qualify for the Champions League.

United and France midfielder Paul Pogba was named Europa League Player of the Season for 2016-17, ahead of team-mates Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Below is the full draw

Group A: Villareal, M Tel-Aviv, Astana, Slavia Praha

Group B: Dynamo Kyiv, Young Boys, Partizan, Skendebeu

Group C: Braga, Ludogorets, Hoffenheim, Istanbul Basaksehir

Group D: Milan, Austria Wien, Rijeka, AEK Athens

Group E: Lyon, Everton, Atalanta, Apollo Limassol

Group F: Kobenhavin, Lokomotiv Moscow, Sheriff, Zlin

Group G: Pizen, FCSB, H Beer-Sheva, Lugano

Group H: Arsenal, BATE Borisov, Koln, Crvena zvezda

Group I: Salzburg, Marseille, Vitoria SC, Konyaspor

Group J: Athletic Club, Hertha, Zarya, Ostersund

Group K: Lazio, Lazio, Zulte Waregem, Vitesse

Group L: Zenit, Real Sociedad, Rosenborg, Vardar