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Who could Arsenal face in the Europa League group-stage draw?

Arsenal will find out their Europa League group-stage opponents when the draw is made on Friday.

The Gunners, preparing for their first European campaign outside the Champions League since 1999/2000, could be joined in the hat by Everton, who hold a 2-0 lead over Hajduk Split ahead of Thursday’s play-off round second-leg tie.

The group stage draw takes place in Monaco on Friday at midday – here’s what else you need to know…

How does the draw work?

It will comprise 48 teams, with 16 entering the competition at this stage, 22 progressing from the Europa League play-off round and 10 dropping down from the Champions League play-off round following elimination.

The 48 entrants are split into four seeding pots based on their club coefficients, with each of the eventual 12 groups to contain one team from each seeding tier.

No team can play a club from their own association – so Everton and Arsenal cannot be in the same group – with the exact draw procedure confirmed before Friday’s ceremony.

Who’s in the hat?

Arsenal are one of 16 teams to have qualified automatically for the group stage.

Those clubs have been joined by 10 teams eliminated from the Champions League at the play-off round.

That includes Mario Balotelli’s Nice and Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, who were knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool.

The 22 winning clubs from the Europa League play-off round will then complete the list of 48 group-stage participants.

Who could Arsenal, Everton face?

Should Everton reach the group stage, they would be kept apart from Arsenal in the draw.

The Gunners hold the highest coefficient ranking (105.192) making them a top seed.

VillarrealLazio and Lyon are also top seeds so Arsenal will avoid these teams. That means no Lyon reunion for Arsenal’s club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette, although the two sides could face each other in the knockout rounds should they qualify.

The remaining top seeds will be confirmed after Thursday’s second-leg ties.

But Arsenal could face Eredivisie side Vitesse, who have several Chelsea players on loan including Mason Mount, Charlie Colkett and Matt Miazga.

Who’s likely to qualify?

Everton are in a strong position in their play-off tie having beaten Hadjuk Split 2-0 at Goodison Park in the first leg, with the return leg on Thursday night.

Serie A giants AC Milan should also advance after their 6-0 first-leg win over Shkendija, while MarseilleAjax and Zenit St-Petersburg have work to do to avoid elimination.

Here’s the state of play in the Europa League play-off second-leg ties ahead of Thursday’s games…

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