Mesut Ozil has been rested for Arsenal's Europa League trip to Eintracht Frankfurt despite making a single Premier League appearance this season.

Ozil started Sunday's 2-2 draw at Watford but was substituted after 71 minutes, the former Germany midfielder having helped to create Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's second strike.

An ankle injury to Alexandre Lacazette opened a place in Arsenal's attack for Ozil but head coach Unai Emery has opted to do without the playmaker for Thursday's Group F opener in Frankfurt.

"We are playing now a lot of matches and I wanted to use different players," Emery told a news conference, having named a 19-man squad including teenagers Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

"We can have some rotation in the first XI and the 19 players. Sokratis [Papastathopoulos] and Mesut are rested for that match.

"We are going to play another match on Sunday [against Aston Villa]. My decision is because he played [against Watford], I am thinking tomorrow of the first XI and after that deciding who can be the best for tomorrow.

"The first match he played on Sunday he played well with his capacity and skills. His first minutes for us was good. Now he is going to be helping us. Sunday we are going to play another match. We're thinking to have a reaction.”

Asked if Ozil was omitted to spare the 30-year-old a return to Germany following his controversial international retirement, Emery said: "No."

Arsenal gave a cheap goal away against Watford by losing the ball trying to play out from a goal kick with Emery accepting his side have work to do after conceding seven times in a three-match winless run.

"The first analysis is on how we can improve and recover our confidence, starting and controlling the match," Emery added.

"Sunday we struggled more than we wanted and also we made some mistakes and conceded some goals. We are working yesterday and today on how we can work on it, usually Eintracht are doing high pressing.

"Tomorrow we need to improve. Some mistakes we made on Sunday, we need to improve. We want to control every game with the ball, with positioning. We did on Sunday, in the first half. Tomorrow is a new challenge in terms of how we're improving."

Rangers will do all they can to beat Feyenoord in the Europa League to dedicate the win to the late Fernando Ricksen, says Steven Gerrard.

Ricksen, 43, passed away on Wednesday after a battle with motor neurone disease, which has no cure.

The former Rangers full-back was capped 12 times by  Netherlands during his playing career with AZ, Zenit and Fortuna Sittard his other clubs.

"It's very sad news for everyone, more importantly for his young family," Gerrard told reporters.

"On behalf of the club, I would like to pay tribute to Fernando. A fantastic player who played with his heart on his sleeve.

"I was lucky enough to meet him a couple of times, you could see the fight he was putting up. The tributes will pour in not just for the footballer, but for the man.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of emotion in the stadium and Fernando deserves that. We need the support to get right behind the team to try and get that win for Fernando.

"I'm sure the supporters are very sad at this time and we want to do everything we can to get a win and dedicate it to Fernando."

Rangers host Feyenoord in their first Group G game on Thursday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes David de Gea has done away with distractions and regained focus after signing a long-term contract extension with Manchester United.

Star goalkeeper De Gea ended speculation over his future when he put pen to paper on a fresh four-year deal on Monday.

Long-running negotiations dragged into the new season and kept potential suitors interested but Solskjaer grew increasingly confident of tying down the Spain international.

The United manager now expects to see the best of De Gea following a significant dip in his form last term.

"Most of the time we get to keep the ones we want to keep," said Solskjaer.

"The more I got to listen and speak to David, I was pretty confident we were going to make it.

"David is delighted. I think you could see by his performance [in the Premier League win] against Leicester that he had made up his mind. You could see the focus in his eyes again.

"You do feel very secure with a focused David behind you.

"He's really worked hard this season. He's still young. Edwin [van der Sar] signed for us when he was 35, so I'm sure David will be part of a successful United team."

De Gea will be rested when the Red Devils commence their Europa League campaign at home to Astana on Thursday.

Sergio Romero is to replace the 28-year-old in goal with Fred, Axel Tuanzebe and Mason Greenwood to join him in the starting XI.

It will be a second senior competitive start for teenager Greenwood, a talent held in high esteem by Solskjaer.

"Mason is one of the best finishers I've seen and I played with quite a few decent ones," said the former striker.

"He's still very young but he's maturing and he's developed so much since I came in. I remember the kid who just wanted to play with his mates in the Under-18s. Now he's knocking on my door wanting to play these games.

"I don't want to put too much pressure on him. It's just about enjoyment, go out and express yourself at Old Trafford."

In-form winger Daniel James will miss Manchester United's first Europa League match against Astana through injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed Wales international James suffered a "knock" against Leicester City at the weekend and would sit out Thursday's game at Old Trafford.

The 21-year-old skipped United's final training session before the Group L fixture and joins Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw on the sideline.

Jesse Lingard and Diogo Dalot are ready to return from illness and a hip problem respectively.

"He got a knock against Leicester so he won't be available," Solskjaer said of James.

"We're getting some back and losing some, so that's just the way it is."

James, who almost joined Leeds United in January, has shone since moving to Manchester from Swansea City, scoring three Premier League goals.

"Delighted with Dan," said Solskjaer. "That we signed him, that we managed to get him to Manchester is fantastic.

"He's proven with his X-factor already that he will give this squad a lot.

"I know he was very close [to Leeds], but that's football. Sometimes you have to take a chance and sometime life works in different ways, in strange ways. He's started really well here."

James will be one of several regulars missing from the starting XI as Solskjaer rotates his squad against the Kazakhstan Premier League champions.

David de Gea, fresh from signing a new four-year contract, will be rested, with Sergio Romero to replace him in goal.

Axel Tuanzebe, Mason Greenwood and Fred are also set to be given opportunities from the outset.

"It's not set in stone that this tournament is just going to be youngsters," the United manager added.

"They might play in the league. The experienced ones might play in the Europa League. Those are decisions we have to make at the time."

Manchester United defender Phil Jones views the Europa League as an opportunity to work his way into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first-team plans.

The centre-back has not managed a single minute this season, with manager Solskjaer preferring Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof in front of David de Gea.

Jones made it to the bench for the narrow Premier League victory over Leicester City and could come into selection contention when United begin their European campaign against Astana at Old Trafford on Thursday.

It is the first of three matches in the space of a week for the Red Devils.

"There are players like myself who've not been involved as much, but it's a chance for everyone to get games," Jones told United's official match programme.

"It's a busy period when all the games come thick and fast, when you need a big squad with everyone ready to fight. But it's a period we relish."

Eric Bailly's knee injury and Chris Smalling's loan move to Roma weakened United's centre-back stocks but Jones, a member of England's 2018 World Cup squad, understands it will be difficult to dislodge Solskjaer's regular starters.

"Since I came to this club – when I walked through the door – I knew I wasn't just going to walk into the team and expect to play," the 27-year-old added.

"Today's no different. Of course I want to play, but we've got some quality players in that position. I'll wait for my chance and hopefully I'll get a chance sooner rather than later."

United's other Europa League opponents in Group L are Serbian side Partizan and Dutch outfit AZ.

Alexandre Lacazette has been ruled out until October due to an ankle injury, Arsenal have announced.

Lacazette has hit two Premier League goals this term but will sit out Sunday's trip to Watford.

He will also be sidelined when Arsenal get their Europa League campaign up and running away to Eintracht Frankfurt next week.

Arsenal indicated Lacazette has been playing through pain in his left ankle but is "likely" to return next month.

"After assessments to an ongoing ankle issue, we have advised that Alex will need to rest and strengthen his ankle to regain full fitness," said a club medical statement.

"Alex has been playing through this injury for several weeks."

Matches set to be missed by Lacazette include a trip to Manchester United in the Premier League on September 30.

EA Sports has revealed the 10 highest-rated players on FIFA 20 ahead of the game's release later this month, with Lionel Messi back on top after Cristiano Ronaldo ranked first last year.

Messi enjoyed another stellar campaign for Barcelona in 2018-19, scoring 36 goals in 34 LaLiga matches, inspiring the club's title defence and run to the Champions League semi-finals.

Ronaldo's first season at Juventus – who will be known as Piemonte Calcio on FIFA 20 – went as smoothly as might have been expected, with the forward finishing as the club's top-scorer as they claimed an eighth successive Scudetto, though that was not enough to retain his crown as FIFA's highest-rated player.

Neither Ronaldo nor Messi were able to win the Champions League, however, with that honour falling to Liverpool, who have two representatives in the top 10.

Find out who they are and which other players join Messi and Ronaldo in the 10 below.

10. Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Barcelona – 90

Germany international Ter Stegen has developed into one of the globe's most well-rounded goalkeepers after an initially slow start to life at Camp Nou. He is one of three players with a rating of 90, making him the second best keeper on the game.

9. Luka Modric, Real Madrid – 90

Last year's Ballon d'Or winner, Modric's 2019 has not been particularly outstanding, as he has found himself out of the Madrid team a little more due to suspect form. He may be down one rating point from FIFA 19, but he still reaches 90.

8. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool – 90

A crucial part of Liverpool's Champions League winning side, Salah has truly established himself as one the world's primary stars over the last couple of years. He was not even in the top 20 in FIFA 19, however.

7. Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool – 91

The most important player in Liverpool's Champions League success? Until recently the most expensive defender ever, Van Dijk's influence on the Reds is undeniable. That is reflected in the fact he will be FIFA 20's best defender.

6. Jan Oblak, Atletico Madrid – 91

Widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world for his quality and consistency, Oblak replaces David de Gea – who had a shaky 2018-19 – as the top-ranked keeper on FIFA.

5. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City – 91

Even though injuries have plagued De Bruyne in recent times, robbing him of a chunk of last season, the Belgium star remains one of most highly regarded players on the game, with the City star beginning 2019-20 in ominous fashion.

4. Eden Hazard, Real Madrid – 91

After helping Chelsea to Europa League success, enjoying a generally fine individual campaign as the Premier League's most creative player with 15 assists, he earned his dream move to Real Madrid. He's yet to feature due to injury, but he'll be hopeful of elevating himself to the next level now.

3. Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain – 92

Perhaps a controversial choice to some, Neymar missed a big part of last season through injury and only won Ligue 1 and the Trophee des Champions, as he was also absent for Brazil's Copa America success. Nevertheless, his skill is undoubtable and he comes in at number three.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Piemonte Calcio (Juventus) – 93

The best-ranked player on FIFA 19, Ronaldo's rating drops one to 93 despite enjoying a solid season in Serie A. Cynics might suggest Juve's exclusivity deal with FIFA rival Pro Evolution Soccer has something to do with it.

1.Lionel Messi, Barcelona – 94

The world's best player comes in at number one with a rating of 94 after he enjoyed another spell-binding season on all fronts, impressing even though Barca failed in the Champions League.

Europa League runners up Arsenal will face a tough test against Eintracht Frankfurt in this season's group stage, while Manchester United have been drawn against Astana, Partizan Belgrade and AZ.

Arsenal were thumped 4-1 by Chelsea in last season's final, but Unai Emery's side should be confident of progressing from Group F, which also includes Standard Liege and Vitoria Guimaraes.

United, winners in 2017, were placed in Group L, with fellow Premier League side Wolves going up against Besiktas, Braga and Slovan Bratislava in Group K.

Sevilla headline Group A, with Celtic and Steven Gerrard's Rangers both drawn in tough pools.

Europa League 2019-20 group stage draw in full:

Group A: Sevilla, APOEL, Qarabag, Dudelange.

Group B: Dynamo Kiev, FC Copenhagen, Malmo, Lugano.

Group C: Basel, Krasnodar, Getafe, Trabzonspor.

Group D: Sporting CP, PSV, Rosenborg, LASK.

Group E: Lazio, Celtic, Rennes, Cluj.

Group F: Arsenal, Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege, Vitoria Guimaraes.

Group G: Porto, Young Boys, Feyenoord, Rangers.

Group H: CSKA Moscow, Ludogorets, Espanyol, Ferencvaros.

Group I: Wolfsburg, Gent, Saint-Etienne, Oleksandriya.

Group J: Roma, Borussia Monchengladbach, Istanbul Basaksehir, Wolfsberger.

Group K: Besiktas, Braga, Wolves, Slovan Bratislava.

Group L: Manchester United, Astana, Partizan Belgrade, AZ.

Manchester United will face trips to Kazakhstan and Serbia in the Europa League, while 2018-19 runners up Arsenal were grouped with last season's semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt. 

United, Europa League winners in 2016-17, were placed in Group L in Friday's draw and will take on Astana, Partizan Belgrade and AZ.

Though a long trip to Kazakhstan for the Astana clash is far from preferable and Belgrade will prove a difficult place to visit, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side will be clear favourites to progress.

Arsenal were drawn in Group F, with Bundesliga side Frankfurt likely to present the biggest challenge to the Gunners, who must also take on Standard Liege and Vitoria Guimaraes.

Fellow Premier League club Wolves, making their first appearance in a major European competition since 1980-81, were handed encounters against Besiktas, Braga and Slovan Bratislava in Group K.

Five-time winners Sevilla should progress comfortably from Group A, which also includes APOEL, Qarabag and Dudelange.

Celtic were knocked out of Champions League qualification by Cluj and Neil Lennon's side will meet them once again in a tough Group E, where Lazio and Coupe de France holders Rennes join them.

Rangers were also dealt a difficult hand, with Porto, Feyenoord and Young Boys their opponents in Group G. Meanwhile, Group B has thrown up a derby between Sweden's Malmo and Copenhagen of Denmark.

Eden Hazard has been named the UEFA Europa League Player of the Year for 2018-19, after leading Chelsea to the trophy.

Hazard scored twice in Chelsea's 4-1 victory over Premier League rivals Arsenal in May's final in Baku, his only goals in Europe's second-tier competition last term.

His double proved to be his final Chelsea goals, with the Belgium forward moving to Real Madrid in the off season.

The 28-year-old overcame competition from former team-mate Olivier Giroud, top scorer in last season's Europa League with 11 goals, and current Madrid club-mate Luka Jovic, who helped Eintracht Frankfurt to the semi-finals, where they were beaten by Chelsea.

"Thank you to everyone who voted for me and I'd like to wish everybody playing in the Europa League good luck," Hazard said in a video interview broadcast ahead of the draw for this season's group stage in Monaco.

Eintracht Frankfurt board member Axel Hellmann wants last season's semi-finalists to be drawn against Manchester United in the Europa League group stage.

Bundesliga side Eintracht advanced to the group stage for the second successive season thanks to Thursday's entertaining 3-0 win at home to Strasbourg.

Eintracht lost the first leg 1-0 but the German outfit rallied to complete a 3-1 aggregate triumph in Frankfurt, where both teams were reduced to 10 men.

Led by Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller – who have since left for Real Madrid and West Ham – Eintracht reached the semi-finals last season before losing to Chelsea on penalties.

Premier League giants and 2017 Europa League champions United are in pot one for Friday's draw, while Eintracht are in pot two.

"We saw a drama-filled spectacle today," Hellmann said. "The atmosphere here is something special and it gives the players a second wind. It's hard to compare it to the Bundesliga.

"I'd like us to be drawn against Manchester United in the group stage. That would be a dream, just like playing Chelsea last season was."

An own goal from Strasbourg's Stefan Mitrovic in the 26th minute levelled the play-off tie on aggregate at Commerzbank-Arena.

Eintracht were dealt a blow on the stroke of half-time when star Ante Rebic was sent off, but the hosts still managed to prevail thanks to Filip Kostic's stunning free-kick and Danny da Costa after Dimitri Lienard saw red for Strasbourg.

"It's important for Eintracht Frankfurt to be in the draw," Eintracht head coach Adi Hutter. "The sense of unity between the fans, the coaching staff and the players is what got us through.

"Filip [Kostic] played brilliantly and showed just how valuable he is. Ante also had a very good game. Daichi [Kamada] deserves praise too." 

Rangers qualified for the Europa League group stage after a 91st-minute Alfredo Morelos goal clinched a 1-0 aggregate victory over Legia Warsaw on Thursday.

After a goalless draw in Poland last week, Steven Gerrard's men again struggled to find the breakthrough at Ibrox, where there was a partial stadium closure following a UEFA charge of racist behaviour over sectarian chanting against St Joseph's in July.

Morelos came up with a priceless stoppage-time header to extend Rangers' European adventure ahead of Friday's group stage draw.

The second leg was tight again but Sheyi Ojo fired an early effort wide before Morelos headed Ryan Jack's cross off target.

Legia's first clear chance fell to Luquinhas but Allan McGregor made a good save, with opportunities few and far between throughout the first half.

After the break Morelos went close again with a deflected effort and referee Slavko Vincic paused the game due to pyrotechnics in the crowd shortly after.

Extra time looked to be beckoning but Rangers finally struck. A left-wing cross from substitute Jordan Jones was perfect and Morelos directed a downward header past goalkeeper Radoslaw Majecki to seal progression.

Wolves marched into the Europa League group stages with a 2-1 win over Torino at Molineux on Thursday, which secured a 5-3 aggregate victory.

Raul Jimenez's sixth Europa League goal of the qualifying campaign put Nuno Espirito Santo's side ahead after 30 minutes, after what had been a promising start from the visitors.

Andrea Belotti hauled Torino level shortly before the hour, though hopes of a comeback were swiftly extinguished by Leander Dondoncker's crisp finish.

With their place in a first major European competition since 1980-81 now secure, Wolves will turn their focus to Sunday's clash with Everton as they search for a first Premier League win of the season.

Torino made a bright start, Daniele Baselli going close before Tomas Rincon drilled wide on the volley.

Adama Traore was in the mood for Wolves, however, and after forcing Salvatore Sirigu into a save, the former Barcelona winger teed up the opening goal.

Having crafted space down the right, Traore thumped in a low cross that Jimenez smartly turned home.

Simone Zaza should have restored parity before the interval, but Belotti made no such mistake 12 minutes after the restart.

Baselli delivered a wonderful free-kick, and Belotti glanced a fine header beyond Rui Patricio.

Torino were level on the night for just 58 seconds – Dendoncker restoring Wolves' two-goal aggregate cushion with a fine first-time finish that clipped in off the post.

Soualiho Meite's powerful effort had Patricio beaten late on, but Wolves' luck was in as the strike flashed wide, and they will now find out who awaits them in the group stages in Friday's draw.

Celtic reached the Europa League group stage after a 4-1 win at AIK on Thursday secured a 6-1 aggregate triumph.

Neil Lennon's side boasted a healthy two-goal lead from the first leg and completed the job with a flurry of goals in Stockholm.

Three of the goals at the Friends Arena came in the first half as a James Forrest strike and an own goal from Oscar Linner, either side of Sebastian Larsson's penalty, put Celtic in complete control.

Christopher Jullien and Lewis Morgan rounded off the scoring late on for the Scottish champions but their win may have come at a cost, having lost Kristoffer Ajer and Odsonne Edouard to injury ahead of their weekend showdown with Old Firm rivals Rangers.

The visitors were given an early scare when AIK's Kolbeinn Sigthorsson sent a looping volley against the base of the post inside the opening few minutes.

AIK offered more of an attacking threat compared to last week, but they were three goals behind in the tie with 17 minutes played in Sweden, Forrest bringing down Edouard's pass and firing past Linner.

After a couple of near misses AIK were briefly back in the game when Larsson converted a penalty he won, sending Craig Gordon the wrong way after being clattered in the box by Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo.

The tie was all but killed off less than a minute later, though, as Michael Johnston took the ball past two men and drilled in a cross that deflected off goalkeeper Linner and into the net.

Edouard hit the post and Linner produced a couple of good saves to keep out Ryan Christie and Forrest, but Jullien found a way through by bundling Christie's cross over the line in the 87th minute and Morgan added another with a free header in added time.

Virgil van Dijk has won UEFA's Player of the Year award.

The Liverpool defender took the honour ahead of Barcelona captain Lionel Messi and Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Van Dijk's arrival from Southampton made him the world's most expensive defender and he helped repay his fee by starring as the Reds won Champions League glory last term.

"I need to thank all my team-mates and the staff. I wouldn't have achieved what I have over the last year [without them], my family of course, it's been a long road but it's part of my journey, who I am," Van Dijk said.

"I had to work hard every step of the way, it's part of me and I'm happy about that. I'm proud to get that trophy and it's a credit to everyone who helped me along the way.

The Netherlands international is considered a leading contender to win this year's Ballon d'Or, which has not been given to a defender since Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro triumphed in 2006 having led the Azzurri to World Cup glory.

Taking the Women's Player of the Year award was England right-back Lucy Bronze, who beat out Lyon team-mates Ada Hegerberg and Amandine Henry.

UEFA also handed out positional awards for male players, with Van Dijk landing Champions League Defender of the Season recognition in addition to taking the top prize.

Midfielder of the Season went to Frenkie de Jong for his performances in Ajax's stunning run to the semi-finals, while Forward of the Season was given to Messi.

Page 1 of 32
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.