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2018/19 Europa League preview: It's a Spanish thing

Thursday 20th September 2018

Unless their club is involved, football enthusiasts tend to ignore the Europa League.

The primary cause is burnout. Just like players struggle to recover for domestic matches on Sundays after travelling extensively for Thursday nights on the continent, fans are exhausted after a domestic smorgasbord on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays is followed by two courses of Champions League matches on Tuesday and Wednesday. They need a break to recharge their batteries for the weekend.

There's another, more subversive reason. The Europa League is filled with inconvenient truths. Premier League fans especially find it difficult to think of La Liga as an inferior two-team division when clubs not named Real Madrid or Barcelona keep winning the damned thing. As well, the rest of the continent is catching up with the elite clubs. Contenders like Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, Napoli and Arsenal either drop down from the Champions League or start in the second competition but still fail to win it. No longer can supporters claim to be a cut above the rest without living entirely in the past. 

If you can approach it with an open mind, you'll get a look at next summer's club-record transfers laying the groundwork for major stardom. You'll see clubs you've never heard of, whose names you probably can't pronounce, play exciting football. Give it a try. The worst thing that can happen is your partner will divorce you. 

Here's a look at all 12 groups to get you up to speed while the dinner dishes pile up in the sink.

Europa League Fixtures
Arsenal NewsCeltic FC NewsChelsea NewsRangers FC News
Martin Palazzotto

The former editor of World Football Columns, Martin contributes frequently to Stretty News and is the author of the short story collection strange bOUnce. He has appeared in several other blogs which, sadly, have ceased to exist. He is old and likes to bring out defunct. Although football is his primary passion, the geezer enjoys many sports and pop culture forms. Expect them to intrude upon his meanderings for It's Round and It's White.


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