AC Milan

Europa League draw: Arsenal and Chelsea handed easy groups

The Europa League draw was concluded on Friday with the 2 English teams handed easy groups but long trips. 

Celtic have been handed a reunion with Rosenborg, having already faced them in the Champions League this season, and Rangers will meet Villarreal.  Arsenal will face Portuguese giants Sporting in the group stage of the 2018-19 Europa League, with Premier League rivals Chelsea taking on PAOK. The Gunners are joined by Qarabag and Vorskla in Group E, with Maurizio Sarri’s troops welcoming Belarusian title holders BATE and Hungarian side Vidi to Group L.

That draw has handed the English top-flight heavyweights some lengthy trips out on the road, which could impact on their domestic efforts. Elsewhere, Scottish champions Celtic have been paired with Salzburg, with Red Bull partners Leipzig and Norwegian outfit Rosenborg – a side the Hoops have already beaten in Champions League qualifying this season – joining them in Group B.

Steven Gerrard and his Rangers side face Villarreal, Rapid Vienna and Spartak Moscow in Group G and AC Milan tackle Olympiakos, Real Betis and Dudelange in Group F.Last season’s beaten finalists Marseille face tough tests against Lazio, Eintracht Frankfurt and Apollon in Group H.

Also, there might be some bad news for Arsenal fans as Henrikh Mkhitaryan is not allowed to play against Qarabag as Azerbaijin has banned Armenians to enter their country. So, Arsenal would have to do it without their January signing.

Author’s Take: 

Arsenal Chelsea are lucky to be given relatively easy groups but it’s not entirely satisfactory for Arsenal considering the amount of distance that they would have to cover for their European venture. Reportedly, Arsenal will be travelling 9,928 miles for their three Europa League away games. Baku (4,930-mile round trip), Poltava (3,028) and Lisbon (1,970). Chelsea should be relatively comfortable than Arsenal and should be confident of topping that group. Same goes for Arsenal to finish top.

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