Aug 282014

Everton FC are in the Europa League draw on Friday.

That, ultimately, is all that is apparent.

The process of whittling down the number of teams for the group stages to 48 is long and complicated, a true Uefa-stamped labyrinth.

The Blues will not even discover which pot they are in until all fixtures have been completed on Thursday night.

But we have trawled through the coefficients and likely play-off results to give you this essential Q&A ahead of the draw.

So what pot are Everton actually in?

As it stands, pot three and would play one team from pots one, two and four – although they cannot be drawn against fellow English sides.

Can they change pots?

They cannot drop into pot four – but they could find themselves in pot two.


They currently sit as the third team in pot three, meaning there are 26 teams above them. They need three of those 26 teams to drop out of the competition on Thursday in the play-offs.

It should be noted that of those 26, 12 have qualified already – either through performance domestically last season or because of defeat in the Champions League this week.

That means the Blues need three of the 14 play-offs involving teams above them to eliminate the higher seeded sides.

How likely is it?

Well, here are the first leg results, with the teams above the Blues in bold:

Lyon 1-2 Astra Giurgiu

Stjarnan 0-3 Inter Milan

AEL Limasson 1-2 Tottenham

PSV Eindhoven 1-0 Shakhtyor Soligorsk

FC Astana 0-3 Villarreal

FK Qarabag 0-0 Twente

Ruch Chorzow 0-0 Metalist Kharkiv

Zimbru Chisinau 1-0 PAOK Salonika

Grasshoppers 1-2 Club Brugge

Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 2-1 Hajduk Split

Trabzonspor 2-0 FC Rostov

Panathinaikos 4-1 Midtjylland

PEC Zwolle 1-1 Sparta Prague

FK Sarajevo 2-3 Borussia Moenchengladbach

Lyon are in big danger of elimination after Romanian side Astra Giurgiu, with the French side needing to reverse a run of three straight defeats. PAOK, meanwhile, host Moldovans Zimbru with a 1-0 deficit to overturn – and despite their home record over the past few years being impressive, the Greek side have only won one in six at home this season.

Twente, Metalist and Sparta Prague all go into their home legs with draws in the bank, while PSV Eindhoven and Dnipro hold on to slim leads as they travel to Belarus and Croatia respectively.

It’s impossible to predict how results will go in this competition – so Blues should put their feet up and enjoy the ride.

Who can the Blues definitely face?

Again, it’s difficult to know with so many potential pot shifts. But Sevilla, Inter Milan, Napoli, Fiorentina and Red Bull Salzburg are all definitely situated in pot one; if the Blues stay in pot three, then Celtic, Besiktas and Wolfsburg could await them in pot two.

Good luck with figuring out pot four at this stage – but as things stand, Torino and Feyenoord look to be teams to avoid, while Guingamp and AaB Aalborg are almost certainly in pot four and almost certainly teams Everton wouldn’t mind facing.

And what are the trips to start travelling for now?

If Qarabag FK manage to knock out Twente, the Blues could have to travel to Baku, Azerbaijan – a total of 2,578 miles. Even further would be Trabzonspor in eastern Turkey, which sits 2,745 from John Lennon Airport.

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