Premier League Playback: Five reasons why Chelsea can win the title

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CHELSEA FOR REAL?

Four wins on the spin. No goals conceded. Diego Costa and Eden Hazard in top form. Antonio Conte is settling in to life in the Premier League rather nicely after a rocky start.

[ MORE: Defense rules for Conte ]

Here’s a look at five key reasons why the Blues can go all the way and win the Premier League this season.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

When speaking to the media following his teams impressive 2-0 win away at Southampton on Sunday, Conte believes it is too early for title talk.

“We know that the road is long but the confidence is increasing… It’s not important for us to look at the table now,” Conte said. “If you ask me a prediction or an expectation of our championship, it’s very difficult to talk about this.”

1: 3-4-3 formation

The new system Conte put into place following back-to-back defeats in September has been a revelation. It is getting the best out of his Chelsea players and that is exactly what he vowed to do after the 3-0 drubbing at Arsenal on Sept. 24. He used that defeat as ammunition to transform how his side would play. It gets the best out of the vast majority of Chelsea’s players, even if the likes of veteran defenders John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic will be on the outside looking in. Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta have been key in starting attacks from the back and David Luiz has been forced to be more disciplined as the central defender in a three-man back line.

With Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses both hardly star names, they’ve slotted in to wing back roles seamlessly and epitomize this strong defensive unit Conte has created. Chelsea gave Southampton the ball for long periods on Sunday but Saints never truly looked like getting in-behind the Blues. With a solid back five when defending, plus N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic sitting in front, it just doesn’t seem like Chelsea will concede many goals this season. With this group of players at his disposal, Conte is taking a team built to be solid defensively by Jose Mourinho to the next level of defensive solidity. The old adage of “defense wins championships” rings true with this Chelsea team.

2: No European action

This is one of the most overlooked factors in why Chelsea could go all the way. With no European action at all this season (and no EFL Cup action either after being knocked out by West Ham last week), Conte will have all week to debrief his side on the win against Southampton and then set them up for the game against Everton. That is a huge benefit for a new manager to help get his ideas across, especially since switching to a new formation, and like we saw with Brendan Rodgers‘ Liverpool during the 2013-14 campaign, it can be hugely beneficial with title rivals such as Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester City all battling in the UEFA Champions League.

3: Eden Hazard

He’s back to his best. Hazard scored early and grabbed an assist on Costa’s wonder-goal as he had a goal and an assist in the same Premier League game for the first time since April 2015. The Belgian wizard went missing for most of last season but under Conte he seems rejuvenated and is relishing his role as the ball carrier and tempo-setter on the break. As impressive as Chelsea’s defensive solidity was against Saints, the ability for them to spring counters was equally effective as Hazard, Costa, Pedro and then Alonso and Moses when they caught up with play, can turn defense into attack in an instance. Hazard, 25, has already scored more goals this season through 10 games than he had throughout his 31 PL outings in a dreadful campaign last time out. If Chelsea has any chance of winning the PL, Hazard will have to stay on top form. Along with Costa (the top scorer in the PL with seven) he is the key to delivering goals within the structure of this new defensive formation. It seems like Chelsea is somewhat replicating Leicester’s hugely successful model of countering from last season.

4: Unity

This seems like a buzzword but it is something Chelsea hasn’t had for over 12 months. This time last year many cracks were already starting to show as Mourinho had less than six weeks left in a job with things unraveling quickly. Team unity seemed to be hit hard with unrest appearing in the dressing room and certain players woefully out of form. Hazard and Costa have regained their best play but with Cesc Fabregas, Terry and Ivanovic out, there’s a new look to the core of this Chelsea team. Whether or not players are starting, they all seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet and trust Conte’s vision and plan. He’s said that multiple times recently and when ProSoccerTalk asked him following the 4-0 thumping of Manchester United about the defensive improvement, his answer was telling:

“After two defeats and conceding two or three goals in every game, it was important for us to change something and to find a new solution. I think this suit is very good for the team and our squad. Now we must continue,” Conte told ProSoccerTalk. “I always thought that the system is not important. It is more important, the commitment to trust in the work and work very hard and also to follow the principles and my idea of football. That pleased me because when you see this in the game you go in your house and you are happy.”

5: Conte’s charisma

Speaking of Conte, his charisma is infectious and he lives for the game. Charging up and down the touchline he expects maximum effort from his players and he is getting it. Even in his press conferences he has a relaxed persona and breaks out a cheeky grin every now and then. Following his incessant rallying of the home crowd in the final minutes of Chelsea’s big win against Manchester United (something Jose Mourinho took exception to) we got a glimpse as to how he’s trying to knit everything together.

He seems just on the right side of being a mad genius. His warm hugs with players after the game, constantly thanking the fans for their support and leaps of delight into the air of during goal celebrations are like a breath of fresh air following the doldrums of the latter months of the Mourinho era and then the uncertainty during Guus Hiddink‘s interim stint. Conte will use his charisma and experience from title races in the past to try and push Chelsea not only to their target of a top four finish but beyond it. He has reinvigorated a squad of players who looked down and out last season.


MOURINHO MELTDOWN IN FULL FLOW

“Reinvigorate” is not a term you can associate with former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho went it comes to the current torrid period he is enduring at Manchester United.

Let’s look back at Mourinho’s last seven days…

Yep. It all seems to be happening again, doesn’t it? Very familiar.

Mourinho, 53, doesn’t seem to have learned much from his lessons at Chelsea where he saw things unravel drastically last season, just six months or so after delivering the Premier League title. The self-proclaimed “Special One” isn’t adapting his approach and after 16 years as a manager, should we really expect him to? Maybe this is it. Maybe this is all Mourinho has. Sure, he’s adapted and evolved a little over time but he is still stuck in his ways with his petulant sideline behavior, ostracizing of big money players and solid, but somewhat dated, tactics. It seems like the Jurgen Klopp‘s, Mauricio Pochettino‘s and Conte’s of this world are now the ones calling the shots and dictating the next generation of tactical innovations.

Mourinho is in danger of being left behind and it increasingly seems like there’s a big disconnect between himself and his players.

Murmurs from the dressing room about him not being too hands on has been telling. He is going through the same problems he had at Real Madrid and then at Chelsea the second time around. The careers of young players are stalling. Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn’t scoring. He can’t get the best out of Paul Pogba and he is making an example of Wayne Rooney by leaving him out of the team. Think back to Mourinho’s meltdowns at Real and Chelsea. Very similar patterns are emerging with star players underperforming (Hazard, Fabregas, Costa at Chelsea, even Ronaldo at Real) and his treatment of John Terry, at times, and Iker Casillas is very similar to how Rooney is currently being treated. Mourinho isn’t in full meltdown mode yet, but he is currently hurtling towards it.

As Robbie Mustoe mentioned in the clip above, the situation is recoverable. However, Mourinho has a gigantic job to turn things around so early on in his United career. He will be given time to do that but things are in serious danger of unraveling rather quickly.


TOP DOGS ROLLING

With Chelsea setting out its stall as an ultra-defensive side, the other title contenders smashed home the goals this weekend.

Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City all scored four times in big away wins and all three are joint-top of the Premier League on 23 points. Good luck separating these guys.

Top spot belongs to City due to their superior goal difference and Pep Guardiola‘s side were purring early against West Brom and never looked back. With Sergio Aguero now having 13 goals in 13 games in all competitions this season following hi brace at the Hawthrons this weekend, the Argentine sent out a little reminder to his manager: underestimate me at your peril. Aguero was left out of City’s starting lineup at Barcelona two weeks ago but with his second goal on Saturday he underlined the class which oozes out of him. He’s a predator. Pep insists he knows it and revealed Aguero will start for City against Barcelona on Tuesday in their huge UEFA Champions League game.

Arsenal will all but secure their place in the UCL’s last 16 if they beat Ludogorets on Tuesday but in the Premier League Arsene Wenger‘s side eased to a 4-1 win away at Sunderland, even though the Black Cats equalized through a spot kick in the second half. In truth, the Gunners were on cruise control and could’ve been 2-0 or 3-0 up at half time but they took their foot of the gas and it took an inspired sub to propel them to victory. Olivier Giroud scored with each of his first two touches after coming on and the brilliant Alexis Sanchez grabbed his second of the game as Arsenal coasted to a seventh win in their last eight Premier League games.

Liverpool didn’t quite coast to victory at Crystal Palace but the 4-2 win could’ve been a lot more comfortable for Jurgen Klopp’s side had their defending been better and finishing a little more on point. Saturday’s game was a textbook example of how Klopp has encouraged forward runs from deep positions in this Liverpool team. Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane just kept running at Palace who didn’t know what to do but hung in there, much to their credit. Dejan Lovren‘s mistakes at the other end highlighted why perhaps this season could be too early for a massive title push for Liverpool but, like Chelsea, they have no European action to worry about and plenty of time to sort defensive issues out on the training ground. Another good weekend for the PL’s top scorers in 2016.


SUNDERLAND: A MESS

Poor old David Moyes.

Towards the end of Sunderland’s 4-1 defeat against Arsenal at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, home fans streamed out in their thousands. They’d seen enough. They’ve seen enough most weekends these days and in fact, for the last few years.

Sunderland has now equaled the worst-ever start to a season in Premier League history as they have  just two points through the opening 10 games of the season. Even though they lacked the quality of Arsenal, at the start of the second half they looked dangerous and equalized. But, as has so often been the case not just this season but over the last few terrible campaigns, the Black Cats were simply blown away late on.

It is worth pointing out that this is not totally Moyes’ fault.

He is dealing with a squad he had hardly any time to assemble this summer following the hasty departure (then disgrace) of Sam Allardyce to England and the players he now has represent the leftover remnants of four managers in two seasons. It’s a mess. Spending time in the north east city recently, everyone seems to have already given up on being in the PL next season. One taxi driver told me the best thing that could happen to Sunderland was relegation so they could start again. It’s not a bad argument to make.

If Sunderland’s fans look down the road at rivals Newcastle United, they will see a club which is top of the second-tier and benefiting greatly from relegation from the PL. Under Rafael Benitez they’ve been given a chance to rebuild their identity and philosophy as a club and when they are inevitably promoted back to the PL in May then there’s a good chance they’ll be at least a top 10 PL team for the foreseeable future.

Sunderland’s future is looking bleak with Moyes. As he said himself just a few weeks into the job, they’re embroiled in a relegation battle. Right now, Sunderland and Moyes seemed doomed. The downward spiral this club has been on for the lat four years suggests they will fire the Scottish manager by December and try to gamble on someone else sparking life into the squad. It may have worked in each of the last five PL campaigns but this current Black Cats squad seems woefully short on quality to remain in the top-flight.


Premier League Playback comes out every week as PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here

Premier League top scorers: Who is leading 2022 Golden Boot race?

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For those tempted to write off Erling Haaland’s historically-hot start to life as a Premier League striker, we get it: There’s something rather dull about not wondering the identity of the 2022 Golden Boot winner, but just the number of his final tally.

Haaland’s Premier League-leading 14 goals from eight games has him seven goals clear of the next closest challenger: Tottenham’s Harry Kane.

His third hat trick of the season, joined by three Phil Foden goals in Man City’s 6-3 derby win over United, keeps him on pace for more than 60 goals this season, a mark that would

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ] 

And even though Haaland is currently overperforming his expected goals total, it’s already becoming clear that projecting him for the Premier League record is not farfetched at all.

Take a look at these digits. Haaland isn’t just punching in goals; He’s made an almost seamless transition to Pep Guardiola’s system, producing chances for others in addition to his powerful self-positioning.

Erling Haaland
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Haaland is unlikely to hit even 50 goals given the schedule congestion to come for Man City, but the Premier League record is very well under assault

Mohamed Salah holds the 38-game season record with his 32 goals scored for Liverpool during the 2017-18 season, while Newcastle’s Andy Cole and Blackburn’s Alan Shearer bagged 34 during 42-game seasons in the 20th century’s final decade.

Haaland also could topple the record for goal involvements (goals plus assists) in a single season, including beating the 42-game record. Alan Shearer put up 47 over 42, while Thierry Henry holds the 38-game record with 44.

Other records that Haaland could legitimately tie or topple:

  • 30 goals in a first Premier League season (Kevin Phillips, Sunderland, 1999-2000)
  • Goals in 24 different Premier League matches (Salah, Liverpool, 2017-18)
  • Most goals in a Premier League match (Five tied with five)
  • 11-straight Premier League games with a goal (Jamie Vardy, Leicester, 2014-15)

Read on to see the latest Premier League goal totals for the 2022-23 season, as Haaland looks to claim a Golden Boot in his first PL season.

Premier League 2022-23 Golden Boot race

  1. Erling Haaland, Man City — 14
  2. Harry Kane, Tottenham — 7
  3. Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham — 6
  4. Phil Foden, Man City — 5
  5. Ivan Toney, Brentford — 5
  6. James Maddison, Leicester City — 5
  7. Roberto Firmino, Liverpool — 5
  8. Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal — 5
  9. Leandro Trossard — Brighton — 5
  10. Three tied with four. (Alexis Mac Allister, Rodrigo, Wilfried Zaha)

Premier League assist leaders: Who will win Playmaker of the Season?

Premier League assist leaders
(Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
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Kevin De Bruyne’s gaudy assist numbers give rise to any number of considerations, and we have to wonder if the Manchester City star has ever wondered if the Premier League record would be his in a world in which Jose Mourinho found better use for him at Chelsea.

De Bruyne’s eight assists this Premier League season are double his closest competitors — teammate Bernardo Silva and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka — to give him 94 for his career. That’s tied for fifth all-time with Dennis Bergkamp, 72 behind record holder Ryan Giggs.

The Belgian star, 31, arrived at Chelsea from Werder Bremen at the age of 22 and managed only 425 in a half-season before being offloaded to Wolfsburg. Back in the Bundesliga, De Bruyne got six assists the rest of the way before setting up 21 goals the next season to set up a move to Man City.

[ MORE: Premier League Golden Boot race ]

He’s since won the nascent Premier League Playmaker of the Season Award twice, including a 20-assist 2019-20 season, and he’s on pace to make it three of six. Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah, and Eden Hazard have also won the award, which is only five years old.

De Bruyne also led the Premier League in assists in 2016-17, the year before the league but a name on the honor.

His stats hint that there’s more to come, as ‘KDB’ is creating a gaudy 3.95 chances per 90 minutes. After a season in which he scored 15 times with eight assists, De Bruyne is back taunting those who’d dare chase him in terms of setting up goals (Some guy named Erling Haaland is helping…).

Take a look at De Bruyne’s shining stats, and read on to see who’s chasing him in a list of the Premier League assist leaders for the 2022-23 season.

Kevin De Bruyne
fotmob.com

Premier League 2022-23 assist leaders

  1. Kevin De Bruyne, Man City — 8
  2. Bernardo Silva, Man City — 4
  3. Bukayo Saka, Arsenal — 4
  4. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool — 3
  5. Dejan Kulusevski, Tottenham Hotspur — 3
  6. Erling Haaland, Man City — 3
  7. Ivan Perisic, Tottenham Hotspur — 3
  8. Roberto Firmino, Liverpool — 3
  9. Jack Harrison, Leeds United — 3
  10. Granit Xhaka, Arsenal — 3
  11. Alex Iwobi, Everton — 3
  12. Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal — 3
  13. Kenny Tete, Fulham — 3
  14. Jamie Vardy, Leicester City — 3

USWNT players ‘horrified’ by report of abuse in women’s soccer

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As the United States was preparing for its game Friday against England at Wembley Stadium, players were trying to process an investigation that found emotional abuse and sexual misconduct are systemic in women’s soccer.

“We are horrified and heartbroken and frustrated and exhausted and really, really angry,” said defender Becky Sauerbrunn.

Former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Q. Yates and the law firm of King & Spaulding released a report Monday after being retained by U.S. Soccer to investigate allegations of abuse in the National Women’s Soccer League following a series of scandals last year.

The NWSL and its players association are conducting another investigation.

[ MORE: USWNT vs England WNT preview ]

Five of 10 NWSL coaches either were fired or stepped down last season amid allegations of misconduct. Among them was North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley, who was dismissed after two former players, Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly, accused him of sexual coercion and harassment dating back a decade. Riley denied the allegations.

Yates’ report focused on three former coaches, including Riley. Not only did the investigation find misconduct by all three, it also said their teams did not fully cooperate.

“I think for so long this has fallen on the players to demand change. That is because the people in authority and decision-making positions have repeatedly failed to protect us and they have failed to hold themselves and each other accountable. Who are you actually protecting and what values are you upholding? You have failed in your stewardship,” Sauerbrunn said. “And it’s my opinion that every owner and executive and U.S. Soccer official who has repeatedly failed the players and failed to protect the players, who have hidden behind legalities and have not participated fully in these investigations, should be gone.”

As Sauerbrunn was speaking in London, her NWSL team, the Portland Thorns, announced owner Merritt Paulson, general manager Gavin Wilkinson and executive Mike Golub would immediately withdraw from any Thorns-related decision-making until the league investigation is complete.

Farrelly and Shim played for the Thorns when Riley was coach from 2014-15. At the time, the Thorns conducted an internal investigation of the allegations and decided not to renew Riley’s contract. But no reason for the decision was made public and Riley went on to coach elsewhere in the league.

Sauerbrunn was asked about increasing pressure on Paulson to sell the team. She said it was her belief the NWSL’s joint investigation would make its own recommendation as far as discipline.

“I don’t know if anything is going to come out in this other report that’s going to make any sort of difference. And so at the end of the day, if people continue to fail the players and they don’t comply to anything that gets asked of them or gets implemented because of these reports, then they need to be gone,” Sauerbrunn said.

Some of the details in Yates’ report were disturbing.

“I think we’re all reckoning with the things that were said in the report. Still kind of working through that, in all the ways that we individually do,” said defender Alana Cook, who plays for OL Reign. “I think we have such a momentous occasion on Friday playing at a sold out Wembley Stadium, and it’s marred by this report, and it’s marred by the atrocities that have been condoned and tolerated and allowed to go on.”

[ LATEST: Liverpool tops Rangers | Spurs draw Eintracht ]

The report made numerous recommendations to prioritize player health and safety. Among them is the requirement that teams accurately disclose coach misconduct to the league and the soccer federation to ensure coaches aren’t allowed to move between teams. It also calls for meaningful vetting of coaches and timely investigations into allegations of abuse.

U.S. Soccer also said it would immediately implement programs to protect players.

“It was a difficult day, yesterday, lots of emotions, different emotions. Personally, I’m saddened by the report in everything that we saw in it,” U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “At the same time, I feel a lot of empathy for the players, and I have tremendous respect for the bravery of the players who spoke out and the players who participated in this report. Soccer is is a game we all love and it should be a safe space.”

UEFA Europa League, Europa Conference League fixtures: How to watch, updates, schedule

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The UEFA Europa League and Europa Conference League group stages are here as Arsenal, Manchester United, and West Ham are all in action.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

In the Europa League group stage Arsenal have a lovely set of European cities to visit with PSV, Bodo/Glimt and FC Zurich their opponents, and are clear favorites to advance. United are also favored but have some long distances to travel as they play Real Sociedad, Sheriff Tiraspol from Transnistria and Cypriot side Omonoia.

In the Conference League the Hammers have Anderlecht, FCSB (formerly known as Steaua Bucharest) and Silkeborg, as David Moyes’ side will be very happy with that draw.

[ LIVE: Conference League scores ]

The final of the Europa League will be played in Budapest, while the Conference League final will be in Prague.

Below are details on the Europa League and Conference League, including how to watch info, the group stage draw, dates and schedule.


UEFA Europa League, Conference League, schedule, dates, how to watch

Dates: Group stage to be played September to November
Online: Live updates via NBCSports.com
How to watch: TUDN, Paramount+


Europa League group stage fixtures & results (all kick off times ET)

Matchday 1 – Thursday 8 September

Group A: Zurich 1-2 Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven 1-1 Bodo/Glimt
Group B: AEK Larnaca 1-2 Rennes, Fenerbahce 2-1 Dynamo Kyiv
Group C: Ludogorets 2-1 Roma, HJK Helsinki 0-2 Real Betis
Group D: Malmo 2-0 Braga, Union Berlin 0-1 St Gilloise
Group E: Man United 0-1 Real Sociedad, Omonia 0-3 Sheriff
Group F: Lazio 4-2 Feyenoord, Sturm Graz 1-0 Midtjylland
Group G: Freiburg 2-1 Qarabag, Nantes 2-1 Olympiacos
Group H: Red Star Belgrade 0-1 Monaco, Ferencvaros 3-2 Trabzonspor

Matchday 2 – Thursday 15 September

Group A: Arsenal vs PSV Eindhoven (postponed), Bodo/Glimt vs Zurich
Group B: Dynamo Kyiv 0-1 AEK Larnaca, Rennes 2-2 Fenerbahce
Group C: Real Betis 3-2 Ludogorets, Roma 3-0 HJK Helsinki
Group D: St Gilloise 3-2 Malmo, Braga 1-0 Union Berlin
Group E: Real Sociedad 2-1 Omonia, Sheriff 0-2 Man United
Group F: Midtjylland 5-1 Lazio, Feyenoord 6-0 Sturm Graz
Group G: Olympiacos 0-3 Freiburg, Qarabag 3-0 Nantes
Group H: Trabzonspor 2-1 Red Star Belgrade, Monaco 0-1 Ferencvaros

Matchday 3 – Thursday 6 October

Group A: Zurich vs PSV Eindhoven (12:45), Arsenal vs Bodo/Glimt (3:00)
Group B: Rennes vs Dynamo Kyiv, Fenerbahce vs AEK Larnaca (3:00)
Group C: HJK Helsinki vs Ludogorets (12:45), Roma vs Real Betis (3:00)
Group D: Malmo vs Union Berlin (12:45), Braga vs St Gilloise (3:00)
Group E: Sheriff vs Real Sociedad, Omonia vs Man United (12:45)
Group F: Sturm Graz vs Lazio (12:45), Midtjylland vs Feyenoord (3:00)
Group G: Freiburg vs Nantes, Olympiacos vs Qarabag (3:00)
Group H: Red Star Belgrade vs Ferencvaros, Monaco vs Trabzonspor (12:45)

Matchday 4 – Thursday 13 October

Group A: Bodo/Glimt vs Arsenal (12:45), PSV Eindhoven vs Zurich (3:00)
Group B: AEK Larnaca vs Fenerbahce, Dynamo Kyiv vs Rennes (12:45)
Group C: Real Betis vs Roma (12:45), Ludogorets vs HJK Helsinki (3:00)
Group D: St Gilloise vs Braga (12:45), Union Berlin vs Malmo (3:00)
Group E: Man United vs Omonia, Real Sociedad vs Sheriff (3:00)
Group F: Feyenoord vs Midtjylland (12:45), Lazio vs Sturm Graz (3:00)
Group G: Nantes vs Freiburg, Qarabag vs Olympiacos (12:45)
Group H: Trabzonspor vs Monaco, Ferencvaros vs Red Star Belgrade (3:00)

Matchday 5 – Thursday 27 October

Group A: Zurich vs Bodo/Glimt, PSV Eindhoven vs Arsenal (12:45)
Group B: AEK Larnaca vs Dynamo Kyiv, Fenerbahce vs Rennes (12:45)
Group C: Ludogorets vs Real Betis (12:45), HJK Helsinki vs Roma (3:00)
Group D: Malmo vs St Gilloise, Union Berlin vs Braga (12:45)
Group E: Man United vs Sheriff, Omonia vs Real Sociedad (3:00)
Group F: Lazio vs Midtjylland (12:45), Sturm Graz vs Feyenoord (3:00)
Group G: Freiburg vs Olympiacos, Nantes vs Qarabag (3:00)
Group H: Red Star Belgrade vs Trabzonspor, Ferencvaros vs Monaco (3:00)

Matchday 6 – Thursday 3 November

Group A: Arsenal vs Zurich, Bodo/Glimt vs PSV Eindhoven (3:00)
Group B: Dynamo Kyiv vs Fenerbahce, Rennes vs AEK Larnaca (3:00)
Group C: Real Betis vs HJK Helsinki, Roma vs Ludogorets (3:00)
Group D: St Gilloise vs Union Berlin, Braga vs Malmo (3:00)
Group E: Real Sociedad vs Man United, Sheriff vs Omonia (12:45)
Group F: Midtjylland vs Sturm Graz, Feyenoord vs Lazio (12:45)
Group G: Olympiacos vs Nantes, Qarabag vs Freiburg (12:45)
Group H: Trabzonspor vs Ferencvaros, Monaco vs Red Star Belgrade (12:45)

Europa League groups

Group A: Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, Bodo/Glimt, FC Zurich
Group B: Dynamo Kiev, Rennes, Fenerbahce, AEK Larnaca
Group C: Roma, Ludogorets, Real Betis, HJK Helsinki
Group D: Braga, Malmo, Union Berlin, Union Saint-Gilloise
Group E: Manchester United, Real Sociedad, Sheriff Tiraspol, Omonia
Group F: Lazio, Feyenoord, Midtjylland, Sturm Graz
Group G: Olympiacos, Qarabag, SC Freiburg, Nantes
Group H: Red Star Belgrade, Monaco, Ferencvaros, Trabzonspor


Europa Conference League group stage fixtures (all kick off times ET)

Matchday 1 – Thursday 8 September

Group A: Hearts vs Istanbul Basaksehir, Fiorentina vs RFS (18:45)
Group B: Anderlecht vs Silkeborg (12:45), West Ham vs FCSB (21:00)
Group C: Villarreal vs Lech, Austria Wien vs H. Beer-Sheva (18:45)
Group D: Slovacko vs Partizan, Nice vs Cologne (18:45)
Group E: Vaduz vs Apollon Limassol, Dnipro-1 vs AZ Alkmaar (3:00)
Group F: Molde vs Gent, Shamrock Rovers vs Djurgarden (3:00)
Group G: Ballkani vs CFR Cluj (12:45), Sivasspor vs Slavia Prague (3:00)
Group H: Basel vs Pyunik, Slovan Bratislava vs Zalgiris (3:00)

Matchday 2 – Thursday 15 September

Group A: RFS vs Hearts, Istanbul Basaksehir vs Fiorentina (3:00)
Group B: FCSB vs Anderlecht, Silkeborg vs West Ham (3:00)
Group C: Lech vs Austria Wien, H. Beer-Sheva vs Villarreal (3:00)
Group D: Partizan vs Nice, Cologne vs Slovacko (3:00)
Group E: Apollon Limassol vs Dnipro-1, AZ Alkmaar vs Vaduz (12:45)
Group F: Djurgarden vs Molde, Gent vs Shamrock Rovers (12:45)
Group G: Slavia Prague vs Ballkani, CFR Cluj vs Sivasspor (12:45)
Group H: Zalgiris vs Basel, Pyunik vs Slovan Bratislava (12:45)

Matchday 3 – Thursday 6 October

Group A: Hearts vs Fiorentina, RFS vs Istanbul Basaksehir (3:00)
Group B: Anderlecht vs West Ham, Silkeborg vs FCSB (12:45)
Group C: Lech vs H. Beer-Sheva (12:45), Villarreal vs Austria Wien (3:00)
Group D: Slovacko vs Nice (12:45), Cologne vs Partizan (3:00)
Group E: Dnipro-1 vs Vaduz (12:45), AZ Alkmaar vs Apollon Limassol (3:00)
Group F: Molde vs Shamrock Rovers (12:45), Gent vs Djurgarden (3:00)
Group G: Sivasspor vs Ballkani (12:45), Slavia Prague vs CFR Cluj (3:00)
Group H: Pyunik vs Zalgiris (12:45), Basel vs Slovan Bratislava (3:00)

Matchday 4 – Thursday 13 October

Group A: Istanbul Basaksehir vs RFS, Fiorentina vs Hearts (12:45)
Group B: FCSB vs Silkeborg, West Ham vs Anderlecht (3:00)
Group C: Austria Wien vs Villarreal (12:45), H. Beer-Sheva vs Lech (3:00)
Group D: Partizan vs Cologne (12:45), Nice vs Slovacko (3:00)
Group E: Apollon Limassol vs AZ Alkmaar (12:45), Vaduz vs Dnipro-1 (3:00)
Group F: Djurgarden vs Gent (12:45), Shamrock Rovers vs Molde (3:00)
Group G: CFR Cluj vs Slavia Prague (12:45), Ballkani vs Sivasspor (3:00)
Group H: Slovan Bratislava vs Basel (12:45), Zalgiris vs Pyunik (3:00)

Matchday 5 – Thursday 27 October

Group A: Fiorentina vs Istanbul Basaksehir (12:45), Hearts vs RFS (3:00)
Group B: Anderlecht vs FCSB (12:45), West Ham vs Silkeborg (3:00)
Group C: Villarreal vs H. Beer-Sheva, Austria Wien vs Lech (12:45)
Group D: Slovacko vs Cologne, Nice vs Partizan (12:45)
Group E: Vaduz vs AZ Alkmaar (12:45), Dnipro-1 vs Apollon Limassol (3:00)
Group F: Molde vs Djurgarden, Shamrock Rovers vs Gent (3:00)
Group G: Ballkani vs Slavia Prague, Sivasspor vs CFR Cluj (3:00)
Group H: Basel vs Zalgiris, Slovan Bratislava vs Pyunik (3:00)

Matchday 6 – Thursday 3 November

Group A: RFS vs Fiorentina, Istanbul Basaksehir vs Hearts (11:30)
Group B: FCSB vs West Ham, Silkeborg vs Anderlecht (3:00)
Group C: Lech vs Villarreal, H. Beer-Sheva vs Austria Wien (3:00)
Group D: Partizan vs Slovacko, Cologne vs Nice (3:00)
Group E: Apollon Limassol vs Vaduz, AZ Alkmaar vs Dnipro-1 (12:45)
Group F: Djurgarden vs Shamrock Rovers, Gent vs Molde (12:45)
Group G: Slavia Prague vs Sivasspor, CFR Cluj vs Ballkani (12:45)
Group H: Zalgiris vs Slovan Bratislava, Pyunik vs Basel (12:45)

Europa Conference League groups

Group A: Istanbul Basaksehir, Fiorentina, Hearts, RFS
Group B: West Ham, FCSB, Anderlecht, Silkeborg
Group C: Villarreal, Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Austria Wien, Lech Poznan
Group D: Partizan Belgrade, FC Cologne, Nice, Slovacko
Group E: AZ Alkmaar, Apollon Nicosia, Vaduz, Dnipro-1
Group F: Gent, Molde, Shamrock Rovers, Djurgarden
Group G: Slavia Prague, CFR Cluj, Sivasspor, Ballkani
Group H: Basel, Slovan Bratislava, Zalgiris, Pyunik