Everton draw Lyon and Atalanta in competitive Group E

Friday, 25 August, 2017 123comments  |  Jump to most recent
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


Reader Comments (123)

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Jamie Morgan
1 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:27:17
Could have put money on us drawing bloody Lyon! They are better than most the teams in the Champions League!
Andrew Ellams
2 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:31:01
So how do we come out of this with a tougher draw than the shite get in the Champions League?
Anthony Lewis
3 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:34:38
How do they decide which group they go in?
Declan Madden
4 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:38:59
Happy with that draw! The whole idea of playing in Europe is that you get to pit yourselves against the very best and we've gotten some of the best from each possible pot! Plus no mad ass long trips to Eastern Europe which will help us with our preparations for our Sunday fixtures! All those teams will not be happy having drawn us bad draw for them! Up the Toffees!
Paul Mackie
5 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:39:47
Other than Lyon, that's not too bad. I think we've got an easier draw than Arsenal did and we don't have to travel 'too' far...
Colin Glassar
6 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:40:35
Best draw possible. Tough but winnable games imo. Fantastic places to visit and all relatively close. No long trips to Eastern Europe at least.
Kim Vivian
7 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:40:41
Fuck knows Ant. Looks totally random to me. So Atalanta, Lyon, Limassol. Longest haul is Cyprus (suits P Walling?). Should do ok in that group.
Karl Masters
8 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:41:12
Stop whingeing!!!!!

We get into Europe to test ourselves and play decent teams. Lyon are good, but Atalanta nothing special and you can't be too scared of a Cypriot team surely?

Could be worse with long hard trips to God knows where in Eastern Europe.

France, Italy and Cyprus will do for me.

Colin Grierson
9 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:41:14
Bring them on! You have to beat the best to be the best.
Dermot O'Brien
10 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:41:16
Apollon to complete the group. We should get out of this no problem. Lyon will be tough, but we have what it takes to top the group. They will not be happy at drawing us.
Mike Allison
11 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:41:42
I couldn't figure out why some teams went into the next group alphabetically and others didn't. It definitely wasn't as simple as avoiding teams from the same country and seemed pretty random. The first four teams from Pot 4 went into groups A-D as you'd expect, then Lugano (of Switzerland) were drawn but didn't go into Group E with us and I have no idea why.

As for our draw, I know they're good teams but they're places I'd rather the team travelled to than further afield.

Paul Hughes
12 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:41:44
Pleasant trips to civilised, warm parts of western Europe.
Freddy Maldonado
13 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:42:26
I think it's definitely a fun group. We should come away with the majority of the points against Atalanta and Limassol but Lyon will be tough even without Lacazette.

Bring it on!

Shane Corcoran
14 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:42:44
Dermot, no problem? We've drawn teams from two of the top leagues in Europe.
Ste Traverse
15 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:43:56
Good draw for us. Certainly no cry-arseing from me.

Going be a very competitive group.

John G Davies
16 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:44:58
So have they Shane.
Kim Vivian
17 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:45:00
Tell you what though - everyone else in that group wont be happy they got us.
George Cumiskey
18 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:45:11
Tough draw we will have to improve dramatically or it could be goodnight Vienna.
Nigel Munford
19 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:46:12
Got to play them sometime so may as well knock them out in the Group stage. My argument is why should beaten CL qualifiers get immediate inclusion, they've been in their competition and got knocked out, why should they get a 2nd bite in another competition.
Shane Corcoran
20 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:46:29
John, I know, but I doubt their fans will be saying that they should get out of it no problem.

Tough group but, like others, I'm glad of it.

David Booth
21 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:46:44
Cyprus, France and Italy - its a great group for us as fans.

And no-one we should be in awe of.

All beatable and so easy to get to.

Fantastic draw!

Steve Foster
22 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:47:38
Shane #14

And we are from the top end if the best league in Europe.

These teams are going to be moaning more about drawing us.

Onwards and upwards

Sam Barrett
23 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:48:03
Any dates?
I ain't missing these 3 games😀!
Shane Corcoran
24 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:48:19
Steve, see my post #20.
Karl Parsons
25 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:51:12
WOW. Amazing locations and I'm with Sam #23 I ain't missing these 3 games😀!
Colin Glassar
26 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:54:34
Computer says I think it's a great draw with Lyons being the team to beat. All our players should be 100% match sharp by the time the games start and, hopefully, we will have a recognised striker by then.
Christopher Timmins
27 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:57:00
Great draw to cap a very good week for the club. An interesting 6 days ahead, hopefully we will maintain our unbeaten record and acquire the players we need for the long season that now lies ahead.
Colin Glassar
28 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:57:38
Should have had suspension points after 'computer says'. In other words, a computer had already decided which teams from each pot would go into which group. Nothing dodgy.
Steven Jones
29 Posted 25/08/2017 at 12:59:58
When do the fixtures come out
We have the dates already
John G Davies
30 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:00:40
That's because they have drawn us Shane.
We are going places with this manager.
Anyone who can't (or won't) see the development and improvement game by game shares the same eyesight as Ben Turpin.
Sam Barrett
31 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:01:33
Any dates?
Jim Knightley
32 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:02:38
Tough group but we are more than capable of winning it. Obviously it could have been easier, but then we wont win the Europa League without beating good teams. The issue I suppose is that juggling the league and Europa will be tougher with a harder group - rotation is a must. The squad has some options, but we need that striker and a CB in before the deadline.

I'm looking forward to it.

Denis Richardson
33 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:03:10
To be fair draw could have been worse, lot of tough teams in group A.

I'd fancy our chances against Atalanta and the Cypriots, Lyon will be tough.

Still - looking forward to the euro nights.

James Hughes
34 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:03:57
Sam -–first game is 14/09/17
Lenny Kingman
35 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:04:00
Just to mention that the setting for the draw was Monaco not Nyon in Switzerland, wherever that is.

Lyon isn't so bad as it will be a sighter, an advantage to the blues for when they go back to contest the Final there in May.

John G Davies
36 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:05:04
My post at 30 looks wrong Shane.

That wasn't aimed at you.

Sam Hoare
38 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:11:48
I like it. Interesting but beatable teams. Atalanta are probably better than people realise but have lost one or two players.

Can't wait.

Eugene Ruane
39 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:12:51
Have been to Lyon many times (was there three weeks ago).

Very cool/calm city (a very un-Marseilles 'vibe').

Guessing Paddy's Corner in Croix Rousse" will make a fortune.

My guess is if we behave, there'll be no problems.

* slightly alternative (Camden-ish) district known for the cultural phenomenon of the 'bo-bo', Bohemian bourgeoisie.

Dermot Byrne
40 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:14:38
Eddie Dunn
42 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:15:28
The confidence from playing good teams in a good group will help us later on -if we had been in a crappy group and wacked some minnows 5-0, then we would have been ready for a big shock.

The team looks solid and the quality of player has improved despite the departure of our Belgian mammoth.
Dermot Byrne
43 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:17:01
The mentality of fear should at least begin to end here!
Raymond Fox
44 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:21:06
Decent draw.

So what's the strategy, which comp. do we prioritise this or the League?
I don't think its a great idea to play your best team in both competitions.

Andrew Ellams
45 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:23:06
Last time out 4th placed teams from France and Germany. This time out 4th placed teams from France and Italy. We very rarely get an easy passage in cup competitions.
Mikey Cummins
46 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:26:41
Please with that, the away days will be boss. Personally think we will absolutely walk it. Lyon are not what they were; Atalanta, yes, 4th in Italian league... however that is a substandard league, and the team from Cyprus who knows!! COYB
Ian Burns
47 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:29:26
This is a terrific draw, avoiding the Eastern European teams, France, Italy and Cyprus - these are nothing trips to globe trotting players these days.

I genuinely believe we can top this group, can't wait.

Brent Stephens
49 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:35:29
Page 20 has regs re dates. If I read this right (and have the right source), then:
Matchday 1 Everton v Atalanta
Matchday 2 Lyon v Everton
Matchday 3 Everton v Apollon
Matchday 4 Apollon v Everton
Matchday 5 Atalanta v Everton
Matchday 6 Everton v Lyon

What a final game, if all correct!

Anthony Hawkins
50 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:36:52
I'm happy with that draw. The only real challenge is against Lyon. The others are totally winnable
Erik Dols
51 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:37:24
At least 9 points after first four games and we would be in pole position. Could make for a very interesting final game indeed.
Brent Stephens
52 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:41:08
And the dates are (again, if I've got the right source):
14/09/17: Group stage, matchday one
28/09/17: Group stage, matchday two
19/10/17: Group stage, matchday three
02/11/17: Group stage, matchday four
23/11/17: Group stage, matchday five
07/12/17: Group stage, matchday six


Craig Harrison
53 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:41:08
Mike#11, The 12 groups (A-L) are split into 2 groups of 6 (A-F and G-L). The games from A-F all kick off at the same time (say 5pm) and G-L kick off at the later time (say 8pm) not sure of the exact times. So teams from the same country are pared to avoid both being placed into the same kick off group. so as soon as Arsenal came out in the second set of groups then we had to be placed into the first set of groups. That way ITV or whoever can broadcast both our game and Arsenal with no conflict.

Clear as mud.

Tony Stanley
55 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:44:15
No complaints from me, just glad to be back in Europe.
Paul Holmes
56 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:50:13
You would expect Liverpool and Man Utd to get through these games easily, so we will qualify easily. Ajax beat Lyon last year to get to the final, and Man Utd made Ajax look like a championship team in the final!

Don't forget there was not much between Everton and Utd in the premier league games last year and we have strengthened since then. We will go close to winning this competition this year as long as we avoid Arsenal!
Mike Berry
57 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:53:32
The other teams should be very afraid of us, we have nothing to fear in this group or the competition.
What I cannot abide and makes this competition a farce is the Champions league failures dropping into this, for me there is no justification.
However on saying that I hope we tonk those failures too.
Rick Pattinson
58 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:54:54
Let's fxxking show em there are two teams on merseyside
Colin Glassar
59 Posted 25/08/2017 at 13:59:59
Brent, the final group game could also be the final in May!
Mike Galley
60 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:05:42
Rick @ 58

Well said. No idea why you felt the need to bring Tranmere into this though!!

Chris Williams
61 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:08:18
Italian sites stressing how hard it is for Atalanta.
Chris Williams
62 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:12:34
Also, when you add in these fixtures plus the League Cup games, it shows the need for a good squad. Plenty of games for all.

I think that if we're still in all competitions, we have 9 games in December and 8 in January, when FA Cup kicks in too!

We're already picking up injuries now so demanding programme.

David Pearl
64 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:21:05
Hope I can get tickets for Cyprus away! Should be nice places to visit for us. Now we are in the group stages let's see what striker we can bring in.
Peter Lee
65 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:21:17
Can't remember from last time, is there any chance any of our home games will lick off at 6?
Bill Gall
66 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:21:59
To win this competition you have to become the best to beat the rest. We should have a settled side at the start of the group stage and hopefully we have at least a quality striker who will be needed to get the much needed away goals.

Only 6 days left in this transfer window.

Brian Williams
67 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:26:55
Coupla things.

Top two from each group go through (don't they?) so there should be no worries on that front.
Bobo's? I'd rather come up against them than another bunch of Croat stormtroopers!

Dan Nulty
68 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:28:16
I just can't work out if we are going to bring a number 9 in or not. When I look at the names that have been bandied about it almost feels like we are settling for someone for the sake of it rather than bringing out and out quality in.

Doesn't feel right to me considering we could be spending a lot of money on a stop gap with potentially no sell on value.

The one I want is Martial but I just can't see United selling him, however, he may be looking at Zlatan getting signed and thinking he has even less chance of playing through the middle now than he had with Lukaku there. 12 month loan with a view to buy? Or am I dreaming?

Brian Williams
69 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:33:02
Darren Hind
70 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:37:40
Some very funny stuff posted here, not all of it intentional.

Wonderful draw for both seasoned campaigners and younger fans looking forward to their first "European tour".

Hope there's enough tickets to go around'

Colin Glassar
71 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:42:08
Anyone who wants to go to the Cyprus game, Phil is offering free bed and board but you must take your own drink.

Very generous of you Phil.

Sam Barrett
72 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:46:02
Cheers Brent, but I ain't reading through all that mate!! I'm in Greece it's 40 degrees and the all inclusive beer isn't touching the sides!
I know I'm a lazy bastard and should be looking it up myself but please, pretty please, pretty please with sugar on it, has anyone got any specific dates for the 3 away games?
Thanks in sdvance😀
Brian Williams
73 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:48:39
Matchday 1 Everton v Atalanta
Matchday 2 Lyon v Everton
Matchday 3 Everton v Apollon
Matchday 4 Apollon v Everton
Matchday 5 Atalanta v Everton
Matchday 6 Everton v Lyon

4/09/17: Group stage, matchday one
28/09/17: Group stage, matchday two
19/10/17: Group stage, matchday three
02/11/17: Group stage, matchday four
23/11/17: Group stage, matchday five
07/12/17: Group stage, matchday six

Peter Larkin
74 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:51:31
We need to learn how to keep the ball. The transition from defence to attack is not there at the moment, the midfield has a huge imbalance and this needs sorting. I can see us really struggling against any decent team that can string a few passes together.

For me the manager does not know our best tactics. Either that or the players are confused. Because what I've seen so far is either we semi press from the front but don't do it all game. We go long but with no real pace. We pass to midfield then it nearly always ends up at Pickford's feet. Also Koeman always talking about the high press yet the distance between the striker and the defenders is a monstrous gap. Its all very confusing.

The most frustrating thing is we know for a fact that these players can play good fast joined up footie because we have seen it in small doses. Maybe it is a bedding in period, and at the end of the day the results have been very good, maybe I should lay off the gaffer a bit or are my expectations to high. Anyway, tough tough group. Need to beat all of them at home to progress.

Drew Shortis
75 Posted 25/08/2017 at 14:54:44
Happy with that. One team we should dispatch easily, one we should beat and one that will provide a real test and competition for top spot. Confident of progressing beyond the group stages!
John G Davies
76 Posted 25/08/2017 at 15:06:19
Great draw.
Looking forward to some proper games.
Looking forward to the match days with the Blues in full cry.
We're on the March with Koemans army.
John G Davies
77 Posted 25/08/2017 at 15:12:57
. Apart from one or two conscientious objectors.
Martin Conroy
78 Posted 25/08/2017 at 15:16:51
This if from Everton site with regards game dates:

Everton's group stage fixtures

Matchday One:  Atalanta v Everton - Thursday 14 September, 6pm kick-off (BST)

Matchday Two: Everton v Apollon Limassol - Thursday 28 September, 8.05pm kick-off (BST)

Matchday Three: Everton v Lyon - Thursday 19 October, 8.05pm kick-off (BST)

Matchday Four: Lyon v Everton - Thursday 2 November, 6pm kick-off (BST)

Matchday Five: Everton v Atalanta - Thursday 23 November, 8.05pm kick-off (BST)

Matchday Six: Apollon Limassol v Everton - Thursday 7 December, 6pm kick-off (BST)

Chris Stone
79 Posted 25/08/2017 at 15:19:55
Andrew Ellams - may have been pointed out already but unfortunately the shite have a much better UEFA coefficient than we do so they will inevitably get seeded higher, whether Europe or CL. Of course, sometimes it is just bad luck you draw a hard group also
Colin Glassar
80 Posted 25/08/2017 at 15:26:48
Important to win the group so we get a runner-up in the knockout stage.
Sam Barrett
81 Posted 25/08/2017 at 16:05:17
Martin @ 78 many thanks my friend, can't make the Atalanta game gutted. But the other 2, see you there boys
Paul Tran
82 Posted 25/08/2017 at 16:21:57
Peter, my take on this is that like his predecessor, I'm not convinced Koeman is getting his messages across to the players.
They often look confused.

I'm glad he's concentrated on the defence first as we look pretty solid and will generally be difficult to beat.

Attacking-wise, this team reminds me of Martinez's post-first season method of throwing players in and see what happens Clearly with better players and a functioning defence behind it.

Now, it may well gel together in the coming weeks and I still think we're able to beat most sides as it is. There's plenty to like about how we're going right now. I'm hoping to see a definable pattern(s) of play/tactics and more cutting edge going forward.

Dermot O'Brien
83 Posted 25/08/2017 at 16:27:15
If we can't get out of this group, or as a club expect to win the group, then we have no business being in the competition. By going about our job professionally (the players I mean) we should have no (few) problems.
Also , Lyon have only won 2 games all season and Atalanta are hovering above the relegation zone.
Jay Wood
84 Posted 25/08/2017 at 16:42:44
Dermont @ 83:

"Lyon have only won 2 games all season and Atalanta are hovering above the relegation zone."

Now I'm hyper-positive that we will progress from this group and I don't know if you are being deliberately tongue-in-cheek Dermont...

But to say Lyon have only won 2 games this season when they have only played 3 games to date (and they drew the other), scoring 9 and conceding 4 in the process, and that Atalanta are 'hovering above the relegation zone' when Serie A has played JUST ONE GAME (they lost 1-0, home to a strong Roma side) is, I might suggest, a clever masking and massaging of the numbers.

Quite funny, either way.

Shane Corcoran
85 Posted 25/08/2017 at 16:51:20
Dermot, you said "no problem". I don't know anything about any of the clubs' current teams but to finish in the top 4/5/6 in France and Italy they'd have to be decent.

So we might well top the group but we certainly won't be doing it without any problems.

I refer to Jay's reply in relation to both clubs' success rates this year. I hope you were joking.

Brian Williams
86 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:06:19
Perhaps Dermot was being casually positive and optimistic in a way where disection, examination and analysis of his comment is unnecessary?
Jay Wood
87 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:13:31
Brian @ 86.


Eye roll.

Sad head shake.

Carry on.

Brian Williams
88 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:16:18
Yes Jay.
John Pierce
89 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:19:38
The teams we've drawn are far more worried about us.

Lyon not what everybody remembers they were, Atalanta have been modest for ages. The other side is a walking six points.

Nice to draw sides we've either not played or played in my memory (40odd years).

Kieran Kinsella
90 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:21:31
Under Moyes we beat Hamburg and St Petersburg who went on to win it. This group is tough but winnable. If we get max jones points and maybe 2 or 3 on the road we should top it. I can see us getting a dour draw in Bergamo, should get at least a draw in Cyprus. Lyon away looks to be the toughest.
John G Davies
91 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:27:26
Very confident of winning the group.
Paul Kelly
92 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:30:35
Jesus, imagine having to travel to Nottingham for Everton's home European matches (from the 'pool) , about the equivalent to Atalanta's situation as their ground ain't up to European spec'.
Gordon Crawford
93 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:31:36
Tough draw, but we can win this group. Exciting times. :)
Dermot O'Brien
94 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:35:03
Yes lads, very tongue-in-cheek.
Brian, I like my casual remarks to be dissected, examined and analysed just as much as the next man. Please don't take that away from me!

Stephen Brown
95 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:38:40
ToffeeWeb just got a mention on Bradley Walsh quiz show on itv !!!!
Stephen Brown
96 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:39:21
What football team has a fan website called ToffeeWeb?
Tony Marsh
97 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:41:46
The Cyprus trip for those that are going will be easy. Limasol is bang in the middle of both Paphos and Larnaca airports. I would suggest stay in Paphos and travel an hour to the match. Paphos is an all-year -round resort.
Brian Williams
98 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:43:39
Dermot. Lol. Deepest apologies. Before doing ANYTHING like that again please wear a red nose, painted face, and baggy trousers.
Brian Williams
99 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:46:38
Giz a clue Bradley?
William Cartwright
100 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:47:02
All things considered it seems a good draw. I don't get the pessimism associated with difficult draws. You have to play good teams at some stage and they usually balance out (except where the redshite are concerned but let's not go there).

Slightly off topic, but we are already seeing the impact of injuries and suspensions and it is only week three of the season. This shows the importance of the squad. Keeping players happy on the bench can only be maintained by rotation. Also having youngsters available is a key. Will we be able to call upon Onyekuru and Dowell at later stages of the season?

Brent Stephens
101 Posted 25/08/2017 at 17:51:00
Colin #59 " the final group game could also be the final in May!"

Could be? Could be? WILL BE!

Philip Abbott
102 Posted 25/08/2017 at 18:09:59
Is it correct the game in Atalanta has been moved to another stadium?
Brent Stephens
103 Posted 25/08/2017 at 18:17:33
I see Everton official website has fixtures different from those I thought applied in posts #49 and #52.

Could our editors please remove my two posts. Apologies.

Dave Ganley
104 Posted 25/08/2017 at 18:54:50
Gutted we're not playing the Cypriots away on 28th September as I'm in Cyprus then. Ah well it'll be interesting watching it with the locals. Good group really and very winnable. I happy with that.
Steve Ferns
105 Posted 25/08/2017 at 19:02:41
Brilliant draw. Trips to Italy, France and Cyprus. Can't ask for better than that.

Lyon are much weaker than last season and there's not much depth to the French league. Atalanta are similarly weaker, but we will find it hard to break them down.

We should take 14 points, 4 wins and 2 draws. I think we will beat the Cypriots home and away and then two home wins will do if we draw the two away games.

Bill Gienapp
106 Posted 25/08/2017 at 19:16:30
Great draw. Sure, we could have landed someone easier out of pot A, but nothing we can't handle. Part of me wanted Dynamo Kiev, as we still owe those chumps, but better to avoid Eastern European travel.

Speaking of Dynamo Kiev, I rewatched the highlights of our 5-2 tonking recently and man alive was Alcaraz abysmal. Almost single-handedly cost us that match.

Danny Broderick
107 Posted 25/08/2017 at 19:25:32
Lyon are not the same team without Lacazette. I think it's a good draw...
Brian Wilkinson
108 Posted 25/08/2017 at 19:29:01
Not a bad draw that, playing the likes of city, Spurs, Man Utd and Chelsea early doors should stand us in good stead for the group games with only the Derby game to come between group games,and Arsenal after the Lyon game, all being well we might be in a position where we can rest some, and save them for the Derby, if the last game is meaningless with the group already sorted.
Dennis Ng
109 Posted 25/08/2017 at 19:33:40
Two tough but beatable teams. Looking forward to the games.
Paul Kelly
110 Posted 25/08/2017 at 19:53:41
Phil 102, yeah, their European fixtures are played at the Mapei Stadium,a couple of hours drive from their home stadium, as it doesn't meet UEFA requirements.

A fact hopefully not overlooked by any travelling fans!

Mike Gaynes
111 Posted 25/08/2017 at 20:28:46
William #100, no, both Onyekuru and Dowell are on season-long loans not subject to recall.
Martin Mason
113 Posted 25/08/2017 at 21:11:41
Terrible draw, Koeman's fault for sure
/sarc off

Couldn't have been much better really and as said it is fantastic having this series of tough games on the trot to test out the deeper squad that we have now. We may improve with Schneiderlin not in the side and we have Davies and a resurgent Besic to fill in the midfield slots. Besic had a good game last night and may just fulfil the promise we saw in him for a short while.

Jack Convery
114 Posted 25/08/2017 at 21:21:47
Nice places to visit when the cold weather gets here. travelling fans will have sun on their backs and no looney eastern european ultras to deal with. Did u see who Celtic got - poor sods.
Dave Pritchard
116 Posted 25/08/2017 at 22:06:22
Martin 113. I think Schneiderlin was good last night and I think we won't improve with him out. A key player for me who should start more often than not.
Paul 115 - why cry over the draw we've got? It is what it is. Why care about who the RS get?
Mike Kennedy
117 Posted 25/08/2017 at 22:11:26
Just a quick comment on the RS draw compared to ours. They were in pot 3 and could have had potentiality Bayern Munich, Barcelona and CSKA Moscow but instead they drew the bottom seeded team, or thereabouts, from each pot. We on other hand did the exact opposite.

At first I was concerned but I think the relative lack of travel and the attractiveness of the destinations has turned me around. Shame though I hear we won't be playing in Bergamo

Tony Everan
118 Posted 25/08/2017 at 23:46:42
A good start will set us up here. Put the marker down at home against Atalanta and I think we will progress.

The draw is a good one on balance , with relatively short travel times.

I will be even more confident if we get the promised 2 extra players , this will enable us to approach these games with a fresher team and also mitigate against inevitable injuries.

Kieran Kinsella
119 Posted 25/08/2017 at 23:59:32
Realistically it'll be tough to win this as it seems to take English clubs a few years to get adjusted to European football. But it's great experience. Two tricky away games in Eastern Europe already and now the chance to play Italian and French sides will be great for DCL, Davies and co.

If we go no further in this and exit both domestic cups at the first hurdle we will play 50 games. We don't have much depth and we've loaned out our better u23s therefore I think it will be a tough season. But I'm not saying that being negative I'm saying it being pragmatic hoping for a pleasant surprise.

David Johnson
120 Posted 26/08/2017 at 06:09:04



Nitesh Kanchan
121 Posted 26/08/2017 at 06:42:01
I saw Apollon against Aberdeen and it ain't gonna be easy against them at their place. They have lot of pace in their side and also the crowd is similar to Split.

That last game is going to be tough, we need to qualify to knockout round before that.
Paul Tran
122 Posted 26/08/2017 at 08:28:58
All round to Phil Walling's for the Apollon game?
Colin Glassar
123 Posted 26/08/2017 at 09:17:14
He's offering an open house Paul. Everything except the booze.
Derek Knox
125 Posted 26/08/2017 at 11:23:29
How many qualify, is it just one or two?

Like many have commented, Lyon is the hardest game, both home and away, but let's not underestimate the other two teams. They didn't just get lucky, or have their name pulled out of a lucky dip, and should be treated with respect.

Terry Underwood
126 Posted 26/08/2017 at 12:14:43
We are the big dogs in this group. "There is nothing to fear, but fear itself"
Brent Stephens
127 Posted 26/08/2017 at 12:41:50
Paul #122 "All round to Phil Walling's for the Apollon game?"

House Number 7, isn't it?

Derek, top two qualify automatically.

Mike Kennedy
128 Posted 26/08/2017 at 13:58:01
This is an extract from Football Italia dated this February, so please don't take it as Gospel;

"If Atalanta qualify for the Europa League, they’ll likely play their home games at Sassuolo’s Mapei Stadium.

The Orobici have been a sensation this season and currently sit in fourth place, on the same number of points as Inter.

If they do get into the Europa League for next term, their Stadio Azzurri d’Italia in Bergamo is not up to code for UEFA matches.

The club is trying to buy that arena so they can restructure it and make a genuine home for the Oroboci.

“We’re waiting for the paperwork and from Monday there will be 60 days in which to present the proposal,” Atalanta director Roberto Spagnolo told Tuttosport.

“We’ve known for years that the stadium in Bergamo is not suited to European competition, so if we do get into Europe next season, we’ve already identified the arena in Reggio-Emilia.”

That stadium is Mapei Stadium – Città del Tricolore.

Just in case anyone was thinking of booking accommodation.

But if it is true, home advantage should be diminished. Furthermore, the home fans will only be there for the day so less chance of trouble.

Lastly however, it is a shame it is not in Bergamo as I believe it is a beautiful city.

Brian Williams
129 Posted 26/08/2017 at 14:00:29
Yeh, my understanding is that they play European games there, a 100 or so miles from their home ground.
Rob Halligan
130 Posted 26/08/2017 at 14:06:13
Mike, you are right about Bergamo being a beautiful city. Especially the old town which is actually built up on a mountain side and, as far as I remember, only accessible by cable car.

When we played young boys Berne a couple of years back, we flew to and stayed in Bergamo for one night. We had a great time up in the old town. Will be a shame if the game is moved to another venue.

Chris Williams
131 Posted 29/08/2017 at 09:51:20
I believe all of our away ties are followed by away Premier League games against Man Utd, Southampton and Liverpool.

This seems to have happened quite often in the past, or is my memory playing tricks on me as usual?

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