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Europa League Draw : Long trip to Kazakhstan for Manchester Utd

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The Europa League Draw for the group stages of the competition has taken place today,  with mixed draws for the British hopefuls.

Previous winners Manchester United find themselves facing a journey of 6,000 miles there and back, having drawn Kazakhstan side Astana.

They will also play Partizan Belgrade and AJ Alkmaar in Group L. With victory in the FA Cup last season, they should be feeling confident in their chances of winning a second Europa League title in four years.

Wolves will face Turkey’s Besiktas, Slovan Bratislava and Braga in their first foray into Europe in 40 years. They have not played in a European match since 1980.

They could win the league, although it would be a tough ask with 15 more matches than they played last year. Their qualification came through others’ successes, finishing 7th in the Premier League.

Last season’s runners-up, Arsenal, face Eintracht Frankfurt, Vitoria and Standard Liege in Group F. Starting in the group stage, they will need to be on consistent form for 15 games if they are to lift the trophy.

Other British teams in action include Celtic, drawn in Lazio’s group E with Rennes and CFR Cluj, and Rangers, who look to have a tricky draw in Porto’s group G which also includes Feyenoord and Young Boys.

Matches start on Thursday 19th September with kick-offs varying between 5:55pm and 8pm.

The draw for the quarter and semi-final takes place on 20th March, to be played on 9th/16th April, and 30th April/7th May. The 2020 Europa Cup Final will be hosted in Gdansk on Wednesday 27th May.

Many Brits will be hoping for another all-UK derby in the final after the Arsenal v Chelsea match last season, the first time two sides from the same city have met in the last match.

Chelsea, 4-1 winners in 2018/9 final, faced Champions League winners Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup (a match between the winners of the two main European club competitions) although lost 5-4 on penalties after the match was tied at 2 all.

Chelsea qualify automatically as winners of last season’s tournament, although as they had also done enough through their league performance, their place in the group stages goes to Lyon as the third-placed team.

All matches will be shown exclusively on BT Sport in the UK, on both TV and online.

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