Arsenal given favourable Europa League draw, Everton task trickier
Arsenal were handed a decent draw in the group stages of the Europa League, but Everton’s task is far harder in Europe’s second cup competition.
Arsenal are competing in the competition for the first time since 1997 and were drawn to face BATE Borisov, FC Koln and Crvena Zvezda in Group H.
Winning the Europa League brings with it the prize of a place in the Champions League group stage next season.
Everton were drawn in a potential group of death, with Ronald Koeman’s side facing French club Lyon - hosts of this season's final - semi-finalists last season, and Italian club Atalanta in Group E.
Apollon Limassol of Cyprus were also in Everton’s group.
Arsenal 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.
Former European champions AC Milan are the favourites to win the tournament after spending more than 200 million euros on new signings this season including Lucas Biglia, Andre Silva and Leonardo Bonucci.
They will face Austria Vienna, HNK Rijeka and AEK Athens in Group D
Manchester United won the trophy in May to qualify for the Champions League.
Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero celebrates with the trophy and the teamGetty Images
Ostersund will play Spain's Athletic Bilbao, Germany's Hertha Berlin and Zorya Luhansk of Ukraine in Group J.
FULL EUROPA LEAGUE GROUPS
- Group A: Villarreal, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Astana, Slavia Prague
- Group B: Dynamo Kiev, Young Boys, Partizan Belgrade, Skenderbeu
- Group C: Braga, Ludogorets, Hoffenheim, Istanbul Basaksehir
- Group D: AC Milan, Austria Vienna, NK Rijeka, AEK Athens
- Group E: Lyon, Everton, Atalanta, Apollon Limassol
- Group F: FC Copenhagen, Lokomotiv Moscow, Sheriff Tiraspol, FC Zlin
- Group G: Viktoria Plzen, Steaua Bucharest, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, FC Lugano
- Group H: Arsenal, BATE Borisov, Cologne, Red Star Belgrade
- Group I: Salzburg, Marseille, Vitoria Guimaraes, Konyaspor
- Group J: Athletic Bilbao, Hertha Berlin, Zorya Luhansk, Ostersunds
- Group K: Lazio, Nice, Zulte Waregem, Vitesse Arnhem.
- Group L: Zenit, Real Sociedad, Rosenborg, Vardar Skopje