Date: 22nd June 2009 at 10:46am
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Villa have now got the dates for the new look Uefa Cup, now called the Europa League… hmmm, that’ll make all the difference! :o)

Villa will join in the play off stages along with 75 other teams. The competition is similar to the old format because bafflingly, 15 teams who don’t make it through the Champions League qualifying rounds drop down into this competition. Must admit that is disgusting, if you fall out of a competition you fall out of it, you shouldn’t then go to a default second competition, surely that just totally devalues the Europa?!

The draw for who we will play in the two-leg game takes place in Switzerland on Friday August 7. The games take place on August 20 and 27 (Thursday nights)

Obviously the away game v West Ham, which was to be played on Aug 18, has been postponed with no new date as yet arranged

If we get through, we are then in the last 48 which includes another 10 defeated Champions League teams…. astonishing!

The group stage draw will be made on Friday August 28…. are you following this? Not sure I am!

The groups are split into 12 with 4 teams in each. We’d play … hang on, this is the same as last year isn’t it.. or has my memory failed me…?!… the 3 other teams home and away and the top two progress to a group of 32.

Hang on, the maths doesn’t work out…..oh yes it does mon petit sheri… there are 8 more Champions League failures dropping down to what now seems a totally pathetic European Competition!

You then go to the last 16, 1/4’s, semi’s and …. well, you guess what next!?

The final this year is in Hamburg (HSH Nordbank Arena) on May 12.

Bring back the European Cup, that’s what I say. A competition for Champions and Champions only and one that only a very select few have been capable of winning from England! I can’t fathom how the Champions League has the top four from a league, if they really wanted champions surely they’d take the Uefa/Interflora or whatever it is they call it winners, the FA Cup winners, Carling Cup winners etc etc thus re-invigorating the cup competitions around Europe?

Ho hum.

Dates announced:

Play-Off Draw: August 7 – Switzerland
Qualifying Games: August 20 and August 27
Group Stage Draw: August 28 – Monaco
Group Stage Matchday One: September 17
Group Stage Matchday Two: October 1
Group Stage Matchday Three: October 22
Group Stage Matchday Four: November 5
Group Stage Matchday Five: December 2/3
Round of 32 and 16 Draw: December 12 – Switzerland
Group Stage Matchday Six: December 16/17
Round of 32, First Leg: February 18
Round of 32, Second Leg: February 25
Round of 16, First Leg: March 11
Round of 16, Second Leg: March 18
QF, SF and F Draw: March 19 – Switzerland
Quarter-Finals, First Leg: April 1
Quarter-Finals, Second Leg: April 8
Semi-Finals, First Leg: April 22
Semi-Finals, Second Leg: April 29
Final: May 12


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