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Europa League draw: Man Utd's travel nightmare

Craig Burley explains why Manchester United's Europa League group is easier than either Arsenal's or Wolves'.

Manchester United face a gruelling Europa League group campaign with trips to Astana and Partizan Belgrade, while last season's runners-up Arsenal will face Eintracht Frankfurt.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, who finished sixth last season in a disappointing Premier League campaign that included Jose Mourinho's sacking in December, have a tough schedule in Europe's secondary competition.

They face Astana, Partizan Belgrade and AZ Alkmaar in Group L, while Arsenal are in Group F and face Frankfurt, Standard Liege and Vitoria.

United, who won the competition in 2017, are now looking at travelling to Kazakhstan and Serbia as well as the Netherlands. Solskjaer's men face the prospect of a 6,000 mile round trip to Kazakhstan, with another 2,000 mile round trip to Belgrade to contend with as well. United have never played in Kazakhstan before, with Solskjaer's side set for a six-and-a-half hour journey during what will be a hectic fixture schedule. 

Solskjaer's men travel to Belgrade on Oct. 24 before facing Norwich away in the Premier League three days later and are at Astana in the penultimate group match on Nov. 28 with a home match against Aston Villa to follow.

Louis van Gaal's former teams will also meet in Group L with United taking on AZ Alkmaar, although the match could yet be moved once the fixtures are released following the collapse of part of AZ's stadium due to high winds earlier this month. AZ had to play their Europa League playoff at the home of FC Twente. 

Arsenal, meanwhile, will face shorter journeys to Germany, Belgium and Portugal.

Elsewhere, Celtic will come up against Cluj, who knocked them out in this season's Champions League qualifiers, as well as Lazio, with Roma taking on Borussia Monchengladbach. Debutants Wolves have been drawn alongside Portuguese side Braga.

Record five-time winners Sevilla will face APOEL, Qarabag and Dudelange.

The 2020 Europa League final will take place on May 27 in the Polish city of Gdansk.

Full draw

Group A: Sevilla, APOEL, Qarabag, Dudelange

Group B: Dynamo Kiev, FC Copenhagen, Malmo, Lugano

Group C: Basel, Krasnodar, Getafe, Trabzonspor

Group D: Sporting CP, PSV, Rosenborg, LASK

Group E: Lazio, Celtic, Rennes, Cluj

Group F: Arsenal, Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege, Vitoria

Group G: Porto, Young Boys, Feyenoord, Rangers

Group H: CSKA Moscow, Ludogorets, Espanyol, Ferencvaros

Group I: Wolfsburg, Gent, St. Etienne, Olexandriya

Group J: Roma, Borussia Monchengladbach, Istanbul Basaksehir, Wolfsberg

Group K: Besiktas, Braga, Wolves, Slovan Bratislava

Group L: Manchester United, Astana, Partizan Belgrade, AZ Alkmaar

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