herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Arsenal, Everton eye Europa glory

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsenal and Everton want to succeed Manchester United as Europa League champions.

The Gunners and the Toffees were handed tough tests on their return to the Europa League at Friday's draw in Monaco, but both want to emulate United.

Jose Mourinho's side qualified for this season's Champions League by lifting the trophy in May despite finishing outside the Premier League's top four.

Arsenal are starting the season in Europe's second-tier competition for the first time in 20 years. Arsene Wenger's Gunners were drawn to play Belarus' Bate Borisov, Cologne of Germany and Serbia's Red Star Belgrade in Group H.

Everton will play France's Lyon - hosts of this season's final - Italy's Atalanta and Apollon Limassol of Cyprus in Group E. It is the Toffees' first continental participation since 2009-10.

Both English sides face difficult tasks to advance to the knockout stages when the group stage begins on September 14.

Sniffed

Arsenal secretary David Miles, in Monaco for the draw, said: "It can't be sniffed at. It's another avenue to get back in the Champions League should the league position fail.

"Once UEFA made the winning team from the Europa League guaranteed entry for the Champions League it put a different focus on things.

"I think it addresses the mind, as you saw last year with Manchester United."

Everton director of football Steve Walsh said: "We think we've got a strong squad and we think we've got a good chance to win it.

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