Why are Arsenal not in the Europa League draw today?

Why are Arsenal not in the Europa League draw today?

The latest Europa League draw takes place this afternoon but Arsenal are not involved.

With the group stage completed last week, in record time ahead of the mid-season break for the World Cup, the second-tier European club competition is already looking ahead to the first knockout round. Arsenal won five of six games to top Group A ahead of PSV.

Given the number of teams involved in the Europa League, the first knockout round used to be called the round of 32, and eight group winners along with eight runners-up were joined by eight teams who finished third in their Champions League group to decide who made it through to the last-16 stage.

As of last season that changed. The last-32 stage was scrapped in favour of a knockout play-off round, in which the Europa League group runners-up face off against the Champions League dropouts. The winning eight from those ties then advance.

That means the Europa League group winners, such as Arsenal, get a bye into the last-16 stage but Manchester United, who failed to top their group due to goal difference, must navigate an extra two-legged tie.

You can follow the Europa League play-offs draw with our dedicated blog right here.