Mike Meredith/CBS Sports

The 2019-20 UEFA Europa League may have just ended, but the newest edition is far off with group stage play beginning in October. Sevilla have qualified for the Champions League as a result of winning the title in August, meaning it is likely we have a new king of the continent’s secondary club competition come next May. The only way Sevilla could repeat is if they crash out of the Champions League group stage in third place in their group. So far, 18 teams have qualified for the Europa League group stage with Arsenal and Napoli looking like the strongest two sides. Here’s how all the teams rank more than a month away from the draw:

1.

Arsenal

FA Cup champs that are trending in the right direction. For a club like Arsenal, it’s final or bust in the Europa League. Squad is expected to be much improved.

2.

Napoli  

Coppa Italia champs who finished the season strong. Lots of talent in this side and a clear contender to win the competition.

3.

Leicester City  

Just missed out on Champions League, and they’ll lose some players, but the Foxes can win this. Brendan Rodgers has this team in a great spot.

4.

Villarreal 

A team looking to improve under Unai Emery and with the addition of Dani Parejo. Expected to make a very deep run.

5.

Real Sociedad  

One of the most fun teams to watch in La Liga with so much speed on the outside. Now with David Silva in the middle, they can make some serious noise.

6.

Roma  

The defense needs a lot of work, but the capitol club should again easily escape the group stage. They could use some help in goal, too.

7.

Bayer Leverkusen  

Probably not a contender anymore without Kai Havertz. If they can find an average replacement, they will have more than enough to get into the knockout stage.

8.

Lille  

Losing Gabriel in defense to Arsenal is a big blow, but expect them to make it out of the groups stage pretty comfortably.

9.

Hoffenheim

The Bundesliga’s sixth-place team is quite strong, and if Andrej Kramaric can keep up his scoring record, they can contend. 

10.

Nice 

Patrick Vieira’s team had a decent 2019-20 campaign, but the defense conceded nearly two goals a game. In a competition like Europa League, that would prevent them from doing much.

11.

CSKA Moscow 

Fourth place in Russia doesn’t exactly scream contender, but Adolfo Gaich is a signing that could help this team surprise.

12.

Sparta Prague

They looked competitive at times in a tough Champions League group stage, getting draws against Inter Milan and Barcelona. That experience helps.

13.

Braga

Huge drop off in Portugal after Benfica and Porto, but with Bruno Viana leading the backline and Nicolas Gaitan now in the side, they have potential to quietly score some upsets. 

14.

Feyenoord  

Lost less games in the Eredivisie last season than any other team with three, including champion Ajax who lost five. They have proven to be able to grind out results.

15.

Antwerp  

The oldest club in Belgium, founded in 1880. A dedicated fan base but very little success since the 1950s until winning the Belgian Cup on Aug. 1.

16.

Sivasspor

A small club with a modest history getting taste of Europa League for the first time in over a decade. Last time in the Europa League was 2008-09 where they lost four of five.

17. Zorya Luhansk This is a team that can’t even play in their home stadium, displaced due to the war in Eastern Ukraine. Not playing at home makes it even tougher in this competition. 
18. Wolfsberger Austria’s third-place team has a great scoring record with 69 goals in 32 league games. But the level of talent is there to really do much of anything.

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