LIVE, Europa League: Chelsea, Arsenal in European action

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Both Chelsea and Arsenal begin their UEFA Europa League campaigns on Thursday, with the Premier League clubs expected to breeze through to the latter stages of the tournament.

We all know this tournament doesn’t exactly work like that, with plenty of surprises in the past. Yet Chelsea and Arsenal are the bookmakers favorites to lift the trophy in Baku in May.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

Chelsea face PAOK Salonika (kick off, 12:55 p.m. ET) in Greece without Eden Hazard, as their star man has told manager Maurizio Sarri he could do with a break following his exploits for Belgium at the 2018 World Cup over the summer. The Blues still put out a pretty strong but had plenty of changes from the lineup which beat Cardiff City at the weekend to secure their fifth-straight win to open up the new season. Sarri clearly has one eye on their London derby against West Ham United this Sunday (Watch live, 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com). Elsewhere in Group L, Videoton and BATE Borisov do battle.

As for Arsenal, they host Ukrainian side Vorskla Poltava at the Emirates Stadium (kick off, 3 p.m. ET) as they take part in their second-straight season outside of the UEFA Champions League. Unai Emery will also utilize his squad players and is expected to rest several regulars ahead of their tasty Premier League clash at home against Everton on Sunday (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com). Elsewhere in Group E, Sporting Lisbon host FK Qarabag.

Elsewhere in the Europa League on Thursday both Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers are in action, with Steven Gerrard‘s side playing at La Liga side Villarreal, while Celtic host Rosenborg. Some other tasty clashes include Marseille hosting Eintracht Frankfurt, Sevilla and Standard Liege doing battle, Real Betis heading to Olympiacos and Red Bull Leipzig hosting Red Bull Salzburg.

Below is the full schedule for the Europa League games on Thursday, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking the link above.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule ]