The draw for the UEFA Cup took place today, and the English teams are going to have hard work to come. Newcastle especially, as they were drawn into what seems to be the group of death. Fat lot of good the #1 seed did them.
Newcastle hosts Fenerbahce and Celta Vigo, and is away to Palermo and Eintracht Frankfurt. Meanwhile, Blackburn is home against Basle and AS Nancy and is away to Wisla Krakow and Feyenoord. Tottenham, despite being the lowest ranked British side, is given the kindest draw, with Bruges and Dinamo Bucharest at home and Besiktas and Bayer Leverkusen away. Of course, none of them seem easy groups.
For the first time in a couple of years, it seems, they aren’t many real pushovers in this stage of the cup. Most every team is a known quantity that has turned out well in Europe before. Even the bottom seeds in each group, typically the weakest teams with the least European experience, are all dangerous teams, save Zulte Wagerem, whom I admittedly know nothing about.
The top 3 teams in each group will advance. My carefully considered (read: thrown at a dartboard) predictions are in bold.