Everton draw Lyon and Atalanta in competitive Group E

Friday, 25 August, 2017 0comments  |  Jump to last
Everton will make trips to France, Italy and Cyprus in this year's Europa League group stage — including to the hosts of this year's final, Lyon — in what is shaping up to be a tough but winnable Group E.

The Blues, seeded in pot 2, were allocated top seed Lyon's group in the draw in Nyon Monaco today before being joined by Atalanta of Serie A from pot 3.

The draw from pot 4 threw up Apollon Limassol, completing a group which has some nice away destinations for travelling Evertonians.

Everton avoided some of the traditionally more fancied Italian teams like AC Milan and Lazio as well as long journeys to far-flung locales beyond the old Iron Curtain like in previous competitions but will have their work cut out for them this year.

By the same token, however, none of their opponents will relish having to face Ronald Koeman's Everton who are unbeaten so far this season and have lost just once at home in 2017.

"I think [the games] are in a good part of Europe and easy to travel. It's tough but tough for everyone," Ronald Koeman said of the draw.

Jean-Michel Aulas, Lyon's president, said: "It's a tough draw, but good to face great football nations. It helps to keep the players fully focused."

Runners up in Ligue 1 in 2014-15 and 2015-16, Lyon only finished fourth last season but made it to the semi finals of the Europa League last season where they were beaten by Ajax.

Atalanta, meanwhile, also finished fourth in their league after having a good season in Serie A, finishing above both Milan teams, Fiorentina and Lazio.

Everton will begin their campaign on the road with a trip to the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emelia, where Atalanta play their European games 116 miles away from their home in Bergamo, before hosting Limassol in late September and Lyon in mid-October.

The return game in Lyon is on 2 November while the Blues will finish their Group E campaign in Cyprus on 7 December.

The group stage games take place on the following dates:

Atalanta vs Everton - 14 September
Everton vs Apollon Limassol - 28 September
Everton vs Olympique Lyonnais - 19 October
Olympique Lyonnais vs Everton - 2 November
Everton vs Atalanta - 23 November
Apollon Limassol vs Everton - 7 December

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