31st August, 2019
The 2019/20 UEFA Europa League Group Draws were released on Friday with some real interesting combinations emerging. Consequently, all the 48 teams that made it to the Group Stage now know which sides they will be playing against.
Of course, that also means that the race to lift the title begins almost immediately.
As things stand right now, the reigning champions, Chelsea, won’t play since they have qualified for the Champions League. However the competition still has a good number of top European football teams competing for the title. Such teams include Sevilla, Lazio, Arsenal, Manchester United, AS Roma and FC Porto.
As usual,anything can happen in this journey, as winning the title is not as easy as one would expect.
What does the group composition of the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League look like?
Group A: Sevilla, Apoel Nicosia, Qarabag, F91 Dudelange
Group B: Dynamo Kiev, FC Copenhagen, Malmo, Lugano
Group C: Basel, Krasnodar, Getafe, Trabzonspor
Group D: Sporting Lisbon, PSV Eindhoven, Rosenborg, Lask
Group E: Lazio, Celtic, Rennes, Cluj
Group F: Arsenal, Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege, Vitoria
Group G: Porto, Young Boys, Feyenoord, Rangers
Group H: CSKA Moscow, Ludogorets, Espanyol, Ferencvaros
Group I: Wolsfburg, Gent, Saint-Etienne, Olexandriya
Group J: Roma, Borussia Monchengladbach, Istanbul Basaksehir, Wolfsberger AC
Group K: Besiktas, Braga, Slovan Bratislava, Wolves
Group L: Manchester United, FC Astana, Partizan Belgrade, AZ Alkmaar
What are the chances of the Scottish teams in the draws?
Let’s take Celtic first.
It has found itself in a tough group with one of the top contenders, as they will have to face Lazio, Rennes and Cluj. The Serie A giants will undoubtedly be a tough opponent, but don’t sleep on the other two, either.
Let’s remember Cluj already knocked Celtic out of the Champions League qualifying stages. Meanwhile, Rennes will be a difficult side to play against due to their intensity and physicality despite the fact that they lost their biggest star – Ismaila Sarr – during the summer transfer window.
Rangers got drawn into one of the toughest groups in the competition. Steven Gerrard’s men will have to play against two experienced sides – Porto and Feyenoord – as well as Swiss side BSC Young Boys.
All three sides have been in the UEFA Champions League in recent years, and Young Boys even played against Manchester United last season. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Rangers end up in last place of this group given the strength of the opposition.
What about the chances of the English sides?
Arsenal were lucky enough with their group draws. They are not expected to have much problems as they have been drawn to play against Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege, and Vitoria.
The Bundesliga outfit appears to be the toughest contender, but they are not the same squad from last season that used to terrorize opposing defences with their duo of Sebastien Haller and Luka Jovic.
Meanwhile, both Standard and Vitoria are several echelons below Arsenal and shouldn’t present much of a threat.
The Wolves were arguably one of the biggest surprises in the 2018-19 Premier League season, and they breezed their way into the UEFA Europa League this term.
Led by Raul Jimenez and Ruben Neves, the Molineux outfit now will have to face Besiktas, Braga, and Slovan Bratislava in the group stage. At least on paper, they shouldn’t have issues to reach the next stage of the tournament.
The Turkish side appear to be their most complicated opponent, but not enough to say they could become a threat in the battle for the top spot.
And then of course, we have Manchester United.
The Red Devils are one of the most heralded sides in the competition, and should begin the tournament as title favourites.
They will have a relatively easy group stage, taking on FC Astana, Partizan Belgrade, and AZ Alkmaar.
AZ are the toughest opponent on paper, but United shouldn’t overlook the other two rivals. Playing Astana involves a nine-plus-hour flight, and that is not easy. Meanwhile, everybody knows what it means to play on Serbian soil. Just ask Liverpool last season.
Which group can be considered the “Group of Death” in the competition?
Unlike the Champions League where there is a huge gap between the title contenders and the other sides, things are far more even in the UEFA Europa League. But arguably, the toughest group in the 2019/20 edition will be Group D. It will feature Sporting Lisbon, PSV Eindhoven, Rosenborg, and Lask.
On paper, Lask might look like the weakest team in this group, but don’t look down on the Austrian side’s ability to pull an upset or two.
Meanwhile, the other three teams are evenly matched on paper. PSV might get a slight edge due to the quality of their squad, but they should be considerably weakened after the loss of Hirving Lozano this summer.
Sporting Lisbon lost Bas Dost, but they still have Bruno Fernandes on their team. As for Rosenborg, they have always been a side that’s difficult to play against.