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When Granit Xhaka faced his brother at Euro 2016

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Our central midfielder recalls how it felt to play against his sibling when…

when granit xhaka faced his brother at euro 2016
when granit xhaka faced his brother at euro 2016
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We have been drawn against PSV Eindhoven, Bodo/Glimt and FC Zurich in the group stage of this season’s Europa League.

We were the first ball drawn out, placing us in Group A alongside a familiar face in PSV, as well as the last year’s champions of Norway and Switzerland.

We last faced PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League back in 2006/07 when the Dutch slide eliminated us 2-1 on aggregate at the last-16 stage, having also faced them in the group stages in the 2002/03 and 2004/05 campaigns. Now managed by Ruud van Nistelrooy, they finished second in the Eredivise last term, but lost out to Rangers in the Champions League qualifiers on Wednesday night.

We will face Bodo/Glimt for the first time in a competitive game, who made it to this stage after they were knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers by Dinamo Zagreb. They won their first Norwegian title in 2020, which they retained last year.

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FC Zurich is also a new opponent for us, who were knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers at the second round stage by Qarabag on penalties, before knocking out British opposition in Linfield and Hearts. 

These are the six matchdays, with the teams we’ll face on each day to be announced in due course:

  • Matchday 1: September 8 
  • Matchday 2: September 15 
  • Matchday 3: October 6
  • Matchday 4: October 13
  • Matchday 5: October 27
  • Matchday 6: November 3

The draw in full

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

How the groups work

All the group winners will progress straight into the round of 16, which is due to take place on 9 and 16 March.

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The second-placed teams go into a play-off round on 16 and 23 February, where they will face off against the eight teams that finished third in the UEFA Champions League groups to earn the right to reach the round of 16. 

The third-placed teams drop into the UEFA Europa Conference League, where they will face the group runners-up from that competition in the play-off round, also on the 16 and 23 February. Anyone finishing fourth will be eliminated from European competition.

The rest of the tournament

As usual, the knockout stages will be home and away legs, although the away goal rule has been scrapped.

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The dates for the knockout rounds have been confirmed as:

  • Knockout round play-offs: February 16 & 23 
  • Round of 16: March 9 & 16 
  • Quarter-finals: April 13 & 20
  • Semi-finals: May 11 & 18
  • Final: May 31

The final will take place in Budapest, at the 65,000 seater Puskas Arena.

Copyright 2022 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.

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