UEFA held their Europa League draw and Arsenal, the töp seed with a UEFA Coefficient of 105, were paired with Köln, BATE Borisov, and Red Star Belgrade.
Travel to these matches isn’t going to be nearly as bad as some feared.
The furthest opponent is BATE in Belarus. Arsenal supporters should remember Belarus, it is the home of Hleb. Which is also the Russian word for bread. Arsenal play BATE on Thursday September 28th with a… 10am PST kickoff time. Arsenal should be able to master BATE easily (got that out of the way, no need to ever make that joke again.)
On October 19th, Arsenal travel to Serbia and play Red Star Belgrade. Unlike Arsenal, Red Star Belgrade has won the Champions League, beating Marseilles on penalties in 1991. Serbian football is known for it’s crazy ultras who will light up the night sky with flares.
And one month later, on Thanksgiving, November 23rd (there’s a misprint on the Arsenal.com site), Arsenal travel to the ancestral home of full time joker, part-time former footballer, Lukas Podolski: Koln. Koln is known for the fact that English speakers add an extra syllable to the pronunciation for no good reason and also its local beer specialty: Kolsch.
This shouldn’t be a difficult group for Arsenal. Unless Wenger sells off all the players in the next week or so.