X

Europa League Draw 2019-20: Schedule of Dates for Group-Stage Fixtures

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 30, 2019

The Europa League Trophy stands on display during the UEFA Europa Cup football group stage draw ceremony in Monaco on August 30, 2019. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
VALERY HACHE/Getty Images

Premier League powerhouse Manchester United will be confident of advancing to the 2019-20 UEFA Europa League knockout stages after the groups were drawn in Monaco on Friday.

United will meet Astana, Partizan Belgrade and AZ Alkmaar in Group L. Last season's runners-up, Arsenal, face a more difficult task topping Group F ahead of Eintracht FrankfurtStandard Liege and Vitoria.

Italian rivals AS Roma and Lazio were drawn in Groups J and E, respectively, while Scottish nemeses Celtic and Rangers were allocated in Groups E and G.

Wolverhampton Wanderers return to the main stages of European competition for the first time since 1980 after securing qualification through the play-offs on Thursday. Their first continental campaign in almost four decades will see them go up against Besiktas, Braga and Slovan Bratislava in Group K.

Here are the 2019-20 Europa League groups:

B/R Football @brfootball

The Europa League groups are set ✨ https://t.co/8L2fSjHVKK

              

The group-stage matchdays are September 19, October 3, October 24, November 7, November 28, and December 12, 2019 (all Thursdays). Visit the UEFA website to view fixtures in full.

        

Arsenal might have hoped for an easier draw as far as their schedule goes, with Eintracht especially looking likely to threaten after they advanced to last season's semi-finals.

Reporter Simon Collings pointed out the trips to Germany, Belgium and Portugal at least make for a simple schedule as far as the journeys go:

Simon Collings @sr_collings

Not a bad Europa League group for Arsenal - certainly in terms of distance to travel for games: Eintracht Frankfurt Standard Liege Vitoria

The Gunners will be somewhat disgruntled to be in this competition after coming so close to qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, losing last season's Europa League final to Chelsea.

United's draw looks routine on paper, and Pot 4 entrants AZ Alkmaar arguably look like the biggest threat ahead of Astana and Partizan Belgrade.

OptaJoe highlighted that the Red Devils have experienced some trouble with Dutch outfits in recent meetings:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

5 - AZ Alkmaar will be the fifth different Dutch side Manchester United have faced in European competition; the Red Devils have lost both of their last two visits to Holland, at PSV in September 2015 and Feyenoord in September 2016. Tricky. #UELdraw https://t.co/SzUnm56a1I

Still, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Co. will fancy their chances of progressing and some potential opportunities to rest players in the winter if they wrap up qualification ahead of time.

Five-time winners Sevilla enter the competition alongside Getafe and Espanyol hoping they can regain Spain's former dominance in Europe.

No country has more clubs present in this season's Europa League than Portugal, however, and sports writer Tom Kundert dissected some intriguing fixtures:

Tom Kundert @PortuGoal1

Some fantastic ties for Portuguese clubs in there: Braga-Wolves an obvious standout, a double Portuguese-Dutch battle with Sporting-PSV and Porto-Feyenoord, while Vitória Guimarães fans will give Arsenal & Eintracht a noisy welcome.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard will find the road to European success difficult, with Porto, Feyenoord and Young Boys blocking the route in Group G.

Old Firm rivals Celtic don't have it any easier against Lazio, Rennes and CFR Cluj, the team they lost to in the penultimate round of UEFA Champions League qualifying earlier in August.

Hoops manager Neil Lennon said he was looking forward to the tests to come:

Celtic Football Club @CelticFC

NL: “Lazio is a great draw. A trip to Rome is something everyone will look forward to. I think we can make an impact in the group.”

With holders Chelsea busy elsewhere, this year's contenders now know who stands in their way as they look to lay down early markers in the competition.