Europa League trophy
Arsenal are the top ranked side in the Europa League this season. Reuters

As the top ranked side in the competition, all eyes will be on Arsenal in the Europa League this season. Last term's fifth place finish ended their proud tradition of qualifying for the Champions League in every season since Arsene Wenger took over as manager in 1996. But as Manchester United proved last year, there is glory to be had in Europe's second competition.

When is the draw?

The draw takes place on Friday (25 August) at 12pm [BST] at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.


48 teams will compete in the group stage of the competition: 16 begin their European campaigns with 22 joining them after last night's play-off rounds, with another 10 dropping down from the Champions League play-offs after suffering elimination.

Like the Champions League draw, the 48 teams have been split into four pots based on their Uefa coefficients. Each of the 12 groups will be comprised of one team from each pot.

Teams are drawn in pot order and initially positioned in order of the pot from which they came. No two teams from the same country can be drawn against one another, while sides from Russia and Ukraine are also kept apart for political reasoning. The draw is only complete when all 48 teams have been placed in the eight groups.


Pot 1: ARSENAL, Zenit St Petersburg, Lyon, Dynamo Kiev, Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao, Lazio, AC Milan, Viktoria Plzen, Salzburg, FC Copenhagen, Braga

Pot 2: Steaua Bucharest, Ludogorets, BATE Borisov, Everton, Young Boys, Marseille, Real Sociedad, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Lokomotiv Moscow, Austria Vienna, Hertha Berlin, Nice

Pot 3: Astana, Partizan Belgrade, Hoffenheim, Cologne, NK Rijeka, Vitoria Guimaraes, Atalanta, Zulte Waregem, Zorya Luhansk, Rosenborg, Sheriff Tiraspol, Hapoel Beer-Sheva

Pot 4: Apollon Limassol, Istanbul Basaksehir, Konyaspor, Vitesse Arnhem, Slavia Prague, Red Star Belgrade, Skenderbeu, FC Zlin, AEK Athens, FC Lugano, Vardar Skopje, Ostersunds

Who can Arsenal draw?

Their position in Pot 1 means Arsenal will steer clear of the other favourites to win this competition; namely AC Milan who have spent over £150m in rejuvenating their squad this summer. Marseille have also had a busy summer, by their recent standards anyway, and are probably the strongest side available for the Gunners from Pot Two.

The prospect of Lord Bendtner returning to north London is a tantalising one; his Rosenberg side dumped last season's runners-ups up Ajax out of the competition in their play-off triumph on Thursday.

Best scenario: Austria Vienna, Zulte Waregem, FC Lugano

Worst scenario: Marseille, Hoffenheim, Vitesse Arnhem