Arsenal FC received their UEFA Europa League draw on Monday and it’s Ostersund FK, a Swedish side who play in play in Allsvenskan, Sweden’s first tier. They achieved promotion to the top flight only in 2016, and they were way down in Sweden’s fourth tier as recently as six years ago.
It would be fair to classify them as “minnows” and thus a very favorable draw for the Gunners. If Arsenal are to get back into the Champions League next season, winning Europa League might be their best route, a la Manchester United last season.
Looking at the Europa League field, Arsenal would have a favorable path in the big picture, but their some strong clubs still remaining in the competition, including Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid. When assessing the domestic route, Arsenal are of course one of the usual big six fighting annually for the top four slots.
They’re currently in fifth place, one point behind Liverpool in the Premier League standings.
Here is the full Europa League round of 32 draw:
The official result of the Round of 32 #UELdraw!
Most exciting tie? ? pic.twitter.com/166NCzW7wq
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) December 11, 2017
Perhaps the Europa League is the most favorable way back into the UCL for the Gunners, as the top four race will be tight. Nipping on the heels of Arsenal domestically are their rivals Tottenham Hotspur, one point behind in sixth. Very surprising Burnley is also just one point behind Arsenal, in seventh place.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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