Aug 29, 2014, 8:19 AM EST
There was a time when capturing the UEFA Cup was considered a better accomplishment than winning the European Cup, which only included league champions and thusly left out plenty of top opponents.
Winning the trophy now has a bit more luster with the added bonus of a Champions League berth to the victor, though certainly no one’s comparing the two trophies much anymore. The UEFA Europa League group stage draw was conducted this morning, as teams learned the next step on their desired paths to the UCL.
There are some groups where it’s relatively easy to predict the two clubs who will emerge but, unfortunately for fans of Everton and Tottenham, Groups C and H are not among them.
The latter group features Spurs, and will find the London club battling for a spot in the Round of 16 alongside Turkish powers Besiktas and respected Serbian club Partizan Belgrade. In the rankings of fourth teams to put in a group, Asteras may not be a household name but hail from a Greek Super League ranked No. 12 in the UEFA coefficient. Still, you’d have to figure Mauricio Pochettino’s boys will be favored to emerge.
Meanwhile, Everton has a beast of a challenge ahead of itself. They’ll take on Divock Origi and the dangerous Great Danes of Lille, a Wolfsburg team that boasts Kevin De Bruyne and Diego Benaglio, and Kubin Krasnodar of the eighth-ranked Russian Premier League.
Returning champions Sevilla get a tough draw in Group G.
Here are the groups. As an added bonus, I’ll italicize the two teams I predict will emerge from the group (provided their clubs like the prospect of advancing in the competition and treat it seriously).
Group A: Villarreal, Borussia Monchengladbach, Zurich, Apollon
Group B: Copenhagen, Club Brugge, Torino, HJK Helsinki
Group C: Spurs, Besiktas, Partizan Belgrade, Asteras
Group D: Red Bull Salzburg, Celtic, Dinamo Zagreb, Astra
Group E: PSV Eindhoven, Panathinaikos, Estoril, Dynamo Moscow
Group F: Inter Milan, Dnipro, St Etienne, Qarabag
Group G: Sevilla, Standard Liege, Feyenoord, Rijeka
Group H: Lille, Wolfsburg, Everton, Krasnodar
Jan 31, 2015, 12:50 PM EST
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Jan 31, 2015, 12:33 PM EST
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Jan 31, 2015, 12:16 PM EST
Sunderland now has four points breathing room from the drop zone, and three points space from Burnley.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:10 PM EST
Walters grabs first career hat trick as R’s still searching for first road point.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:09 PM EST
Losses from QPR, Hull and Leicester keep West Brom three points shy of the drop zone.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:04 PM EST
Toffees put in resolute display to climb clear of danger.
Jan 31, 2015, 11:55 AM EST
The Red Devils ease past Leicester.
Jan 31, 2015, 11:53 AM EST
Liverpool leapfrogs its opponents on the table, moving into 7th with 38 points.
Jan 31, 2015, 11:42 AM EST
Cesc Fabregas and Felipe Luis failed their fitness tests and will not be in the frame for Chelsea, while Loic Remy takes Costa’s place up top.
Jan 31, 2015, 10:56 AM EST
Click here to watch the second half of any PL game you like.
Jan 31, 2015, 9:45 AM EST
Magpies ease to first victory post-Pardew, as Hull remain in relegation zone.
Jan 31, 2015, 9:34 AM EST
Can QPR pick up their first away point of the season? Watch live, here.
Jan 31, 2015, 9:28 AM EST
Can the Eagles climb above the Toffees? Watch live, here.
Jan 31, 2015, 9:20 AM EST
Harry Kane is the lone striker for Mauricio Pochettino, with Roberto Soldado on the bench.
Jan 31, 2015, 9:16 AM EST
Danny Ings remains up-top as usual for the Clarets.
Jan 31, 2015, 9:15 AM EST
Guess who’s back? Liverpool fans, rejoice.
Jan 31, 2015, 9:12 AM EST
Steven Gerrard is unavailable to Liverpool, neither in the XI nor the substitutes. Daniel Sturridge starts on the bench.
Jan 31, 2015, 9:04 AM EST
Can the Red Devils get revenge for their mauling by the Foxes? Watch live, here.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:40 AM EST
Did Costa know what he was doing? Our analysts break it down.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:15 AM EST
Socceroos do the business on home soil, beat South Korea in extra time in Sydney.
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