One of the less attractive aspects about the UEFA Europa League (UEL) is the lack of the title-winning team to defend the trophy they won the previous season. That is, unless like Sevilla in the 2015/16 season, they drop out of the UEFA Champions League at the group stage and join the teams who have qualified for the Round of 32 stage. It, however, is the platform for teams from Europe to realise their Champions League dream by winning the trophy. Manchester United were the winners of the 2016-17 edition of this tournament, helping them qualify for the group stage of next season’s Champions League.
Arsenal are one of the European heavyweights who have qualified for the 2017/18 UEL group stage.
Below are the essential dates for the 47th edition of Europe’s secondary club football tournament:
|First and second qualifying round draws||June 19 (Monday)|
|1st qualifying round||June 29 and July 6 (second leg)|
|2nd qualifying round||July 13 and 20 (second leg)|
|Third qualifying round draw||July 14 (Friday)|
|3rd qualifying round||July 27 and August 3 (second leg)|
|Playoff round draw||August 4 (Friday)|
|Play-off round||August 17 and 24 (second leg)|
|Group stage draw||August 25|
|Matchday one||September 14|
|Matchday two||September 28|
|Matchday three||October 19|
|Matchday four||November 2|
|Matchday five||November 23|
|Matchday six||December 7|
|Round of 32 draw||December 11|
|R-32 first leg||February 15, 2018|
|R-32 second leg||February 22|
|Round of 16 draw||February 23|
|R-16 first leg||March 8|
|R-16 second leg||March 15|
|Quarter-final draw||March 16|
|Quarter-final first leg||April 5|
|Quarter-final second leg||April 12|
|Semi-final and Final draws||April 13|
|Semi-final first leg||April 26|
|Semi-final second leg||May 3|
|Final||May 16 (Wednesday)|
*All matches except the Final will be played on Thursdays, over two time slots.
The 2017/18 Europe League final will be hosted by Stade de Lyon in Lyon, France.