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Europa League draw review: Massive advantage compared to last season?

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Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege and Vitoria join Arsenal in Group F for the first stage of the Europa League.

After the heartbreak in the final at Baku, Unai Emery will be looking to go a step better to get his hands on his fourth Europa League title. The opposition at hand is much tougher than what it was last season but there is a massive positive.

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We faced Sporting Lisbon, FC Qarabag and Vorskla this time last season. Trips to Azerbaijan and Ukraine took a massive toll on the squad which in turn affected their performances in the Premier League.

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Thankfully, this time around, the Gunners’ travel burdens will be a lot lighter considering the trip to Portugal will be the only long-distance one. Arsenal’s combined travel distance to all the teams we have been grouped with is approximately 2892 miles. That is just over half of how much we travelled for the final to Baku last season.

A look at our opponents:

Frankfurt will obviously be the toughest test but the German outfit have been weakened compared to last season. Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller have both left the club but Adi Hutter is a brilliant tactician whose side should not be taken lightly.

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Standard Liege aren’t quite the team that they were a few years ago. However, they finished third in the Belgian Pro League last season. Star attacker Moussa Djenepo has left the club while talented midfielder Razvan Marin has also parted ways which has left them considerably weaker.

Vitoria, a new name for Arsenal having never played them before, finished fifth in the Portuguese top-flight last season. Ivo Vieira’s side have had a horrid start to the league with just two points in their first two games. On paper, Vitoria are our easiest opponents but the atmosphere in Portugal could be difficult to contain.

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