The UEFA Europa League returns on Thursday ahead of the international break, and the latest batch of fixtures could see the first teams all but secure their place in the round of 32.
Arsenal are one such club looking to continue their 100-percent start in Group B, and Matchday 3 brings them into contact with the pool’s other pristine party, Molde. The Gunners edged their first win at Old Trafford in 14 years on Sunday and will now target a third win from as many Europa League outings this term.
North London nemeses Tottenham Hotspur have not enjoyed the same prolific start to the competition and sit second in Group J after losing at Royal Antwerp on Matchday 2. Jose Mourinho’s men travel to Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad this week looking to make amends, but the Special One’s rotation methods have looked slightly unsettling.
The outstanding fixture on Thursday’s card sees Group H leaders AC Milan host runners-up Lille in the first of two back-to-back encounters. Third-place Celtic will hope to see the pair tear shreds from one another as they look to pick up points against Sparta Prague in Glasgow.
Leicester City’s clash at home to Braga will also be a six-point affair between two teams yet to miss a beat in Group G.
Napoli, AS Roma, Bayer Leverkusen and La Liga leaders Real Sociedad are just a few of the other major teams set to resume their continental campaigns in the most recent leg of Europa League action.
Visit UEFA.com to view updated group standings.
UEL Matchday 3 Schedule (All Times ET)
Thursday, November 5
Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 12:55 p.m. - TUDN
Rijeka vs. Napoli, 12:55 p.m. - UniMas
AS Roma vs. CFR Cluj, 12:55 p.m. - Galavision
Hapoel Beer-Sheva vs. Bayer Leverkusen, 12:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra1
Lech Poznan vs. Standard Liège, 12:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra5
Omonia Nikosia vs. Granada, 12:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra7
PAOK vs. PSV Eindhoven, 12:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra6
Rapid Wien vs. Dundalk, 12:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra8
Real Sociedad vs. AZ Alkmaar, 12:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra2
Sivasspor vs. Qarabag, 12:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra9
Slavia Prague vs. Nice, 12:55 p.m. - TUDNxtra4
Arsenal vs. Molde, 3 p.m. - UniMas
Leicester City vs. Braga, 3 p.m. - Galavision
AC Milan vs. Lille, 3 p.m. - TUDN
Royal Antwerp vs. LASK Linz, 3 p.m. - TUDNxtra7
Celtic vs. Sparta Prague, 3 p.m. - TUDNxtra5
Crvena Zvezda vs. Gent, 3 p.m. - TUDNxtra9
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Wolfsberger, 3 p.m. - TUDNxtra8
Feyenoord vs. CSKA Moscow, 3 p.m. - TUDNxtra2
Hoffenheim vs. Slovan Liberec, 3 p.m. - TUDNxtra3
Villarreal vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv, 3 p.m. - TUDNxtra1
Young Boys vs. CSKA Sofia, 3 p.m. - TUDNxtra4
Zorya Luhansk vs. AEK Athens, 3 p.m. - TUDNxtra6
UEL Matchday 3 Tune-In Information
TV: TUDN, UniMas, Galavision
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
Mikel Arteta couldn’t hope for many better weekends than a clean-sheet win at Manchester United, breaking a drought that dated back to the prime years of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal career.
As far as preparation goes between European matchdays, seeing captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang convert from the spot to seal the rarest of results at Old Trafford is about as good as it gets:
It’s likely to come at Molde’s detriment, though Arteta won’t underestimate the only other team in Group B to have won both their matches thus far. Arsenal confirmed David Luiz is training again and could return to the fold on Thursday, which may be required as fellow center-backs Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers continue their recoveries following injury.
The Gunners won their first three games of the 2020-21 campaign but have failed to match that streak since. Last week’s 3-0 win over Dundalk was rather routine, but defending Eliteserien champions Molde look more menacing having won each of their last six games.
Leicester’s task in defeating Group G rivals Braga is almost identical on paper. The Archbishops have also won six on the trot and visit the King Power Stadium hoping to stun their English hosts, who are high on confidence themselves following Monday’s 4-1 win at Leeds United:
Brendan Rodgers will know the Europa League could provide a welcome alternative to qualifying for Europe’s more prestigious competition next term, but back-to-back meetings with Braga could decide how (or if) they advance. A barrage of injuries continues to fence the Foxes’ options with Caglar Soyuncu, Ricardo Pereira, Wilfred Ndidi and Daniel Amartey still sidelined, though Jonny Evans could make a welcome return in midweek.
Widespread changes didn’t serve Tottenham well as they fell 1-0 to Antwerp last week, but Spurs can be hopeful of a return to winning ways at Ludogorets, the only team in Group J yet to claim a point.
The Bulgarians’ interim coach, Stanislav Genchev, didn’t hide his admiration of Tottenham counterpart Mourinho in the build-up to Matchday 3, though he’ll hope to hand his idol a second straight away defeat on Thursday:
The Eagles showed grit battling back to narrowly lose 4-3 at LASK Linz last time out, while they managed to do what Spurs could not and scored against Anwerp in their first pool outing. Ludogorets can move level on points with Tottenham if they pull off a major upset.
AC Milan and Lille each look like potential contenders for this season’s Europa League crown. The pair will fight for first place in Group H, a fixture that wouldn’t look out of place as this season’s final.
Stefano Pioli has the Italians top of their pool and leading Serie A after going unbeaten in 24 games across all competitions, while Lille sit second in Ligue 1 and are yet to taste defeat this term:
Milan lead Group H by two points and can either take a pivotal step in their bid to finish top, or finish Matchday 3 in second if Lille are the ones destined to end their impressive run.
As fate would have it, the two teams were also drawn in Group H during the 2006-07 UEFA Champions League—their only previous meetings. The Rossoneri topped the pool ahead of Lille despite the French outfit winning 2-0 in their only visit to the San Siro before Milan went on to lift Europe’s greatest honor that season.