Sports News of Thursday, 20 September 2018
Hello good evening and welcome to the opening matchday of the 2018/2019 Europa League season.
This year’s competition is expected to be the stiffest in recent years seeing us Chelsea, Arsenal, Sevilla, Villarreal and AC Milan are all in the fray for Europe’s second rated club competition.
Chelsea begin their Europa League campaign with a trip to face Greek side PAOK on Thursday night.
The Blues have made a perfect start in the Premier League under Maurizio Sarri and will want to go as far in the competition as possible, with a Champions League place next season on offer for the winners should they miss out on the top four once more.
Sarri will be without star man Eden Hazard after the Belgian admitted fatigue following the 4-1 over Cardiff, having had little time to recover following the World Cup.
Elsewhere, Unai Emery’s bid for a fourth Europa League title begins against unfamiliar opposition on Thursday as Arsenal welcome Vorskla Poltava to the Emirates.
As head coach of Sevilla, Emery won an unprecedented three Europa League crowns in a row – but at Arsenal, his focus is domestic success over the continent, for now at least.
That means Emery is expected to ring for the changes against a side who finished third behind Shakhtar Donestk and Dynamo Kiev in the Ukrainian Premier League last season and are playing in the Europa League group stage for only the second time in their history.
Here’s the four British teams in action:
Group L – PAOK Salonika v Chelsea (4:55 GMT)
Group G – Villarreal v Rangers (16:55 GMT)
Group B – Celtic v Rosenborg (19:00 GMT)
Group E – Arsenal v Vorskla Poltava (19:00 GMT)