Last season, the Gunners finished in the top five of the Premier League, which gave them a spot in the group stage of the Europa League this season. They are excited for the draw.
On Friday, the draw for the group stage of the Europa League 2022/23 will take place in Istanbul, Turkey.
After the last round of qualifying games on Thursday night, Arsenal now knows which three teams they could be paired with. Qarabag, Bodo/Glimt, Red Star Belgrade, Trabzonspor, Dynamo Kyiv, and PSV Eindhoven also moved over from the Champions League.
Last season, the Gunners finished fifth in the Premier League. This season, they are back in European play after not making it last year. They will be in Pot 1 for Friday’s draw, which will keep them away from teams like AS Roma, Lazio, Braga, and Red Star Belgrade from Serie A.
Also, because of UEFA rules, Arsenal can’t be paired with Manchester United, the other English team in the competition. However, the Red Devils are also in Pot 1, and the group stage will start on September 8 and end in eight weeks instead of the usual 12.
The confirmed Pots for the Europa League draw are listed below.
Pot 1: AS Roma, Manchester United, Arsenal, Lazio, Braga, Red Star Belgrade, Dynamo Kyiv, and Olympiacos
Pot 2: Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven, Rennes, Monaco, Real Sociedad, Qarabag, Malmo, Ludogorets
Pot 3: Sheriff, Real Betis, Midtjylland, Bodo/Glimt, Ferencvaros, Union Berlin, Freiburg, Fenerbahce
Pot 4: Nantes, HJK, Sturm Graz, AEK Larnaca, Omonia, Zurich, Union Saint-Gilloise, and Trabzonspor
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at the best and worst possible outcomes for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta after the draw.
Pot 2 has some strong teams, like Real Sociedad and AS Monaco, who moved over from the Champions League after losing their qualifier. Real Sociedad might be the best of these teams. Even though Aurelien Tchouameni is no longer with the Ligue 1 team, Arsenal still has bad memories of their last match against them in the 2014-2015 season.
Two of the best teams in Pot 2 are Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven. Malmo, a Swedish team, would be a good team for the Gunners to play. A trip to the Netherlands to play Ajax would be great for the Gunners because fans would love to give former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy a warm welcome at the Emirates Stadium.
From Pot 3, Arsenal would play Danish team Midtjylland and two games against Union Saint-Gillloise, who are new to the Europa League. This would be a dream draw for Arsenal in terms of travel and the quality of opponents Arteta’s team would be expected to beat.
Arsenal, Malmo, Midtjylland, and Union Saint-Gillloise are the best teams.
Worst case scenario
The first name from Pot 2 that Arsenal will definitely want to stay away from is Qarabag, and that’s only because of the travel. The Gunners made a 5,000-mile round trip to Azerbaijan twice during the 2018-2019 season. The second trip was a disaster, so it’s best not to talk about it, and it wouldn’t be ideal to make such a long trip during a very busy start to the season.
Real Betis is the current Copa del Rey champion and would be a tough opponent for Arsenal, especially at the Benito Villamarin Stadium. They are in Pot 3, which is the group to avoid. A trip to Cyprus to take on Omonia Nicosia could be hard.
Arsenal, Qarabag, Real Betis, and Omonia in the worst case.