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Everton drawn with Lyon, Atalanta and Apollon Limassol in 2017 Europa League group stage

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Toffees face tough trips to France, Italy and Cyprus

Ajax v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Final
What the Toffees will be playing for
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Everton have been placed in a tough looking Group E after Friday’s Europa League group stage draw in Monaco.

The Toffees will play French side Lyon, Italians Atalanta and Cypriot outfit Apollon Limassol.

Everton were placed in Pot 2 for the draw for the Europa League group stages, which led to the likelihood of the Blues getting matched up with some leading lights of European football.

Lyon v Manchester City Ladies - UEFA Women's Champions League
The Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Lyon were drawn as the group’s top seed - their Parc Olympique Lyonnais Stadium will also host the final in May.

Bruno Génésio’s side finished fourth in Ligue 1 last season, 31 points behind eventual champions Monaco. They also reached the semi-finals of last season’s Europa League which represents their best performance in the competition.

However, last season’s star player, Alexandre Lacazette, was sold to Arsenal earlier this summer for £46m.

Atalanta surprised many last season with their fourth-placed finish in the Serie A, and pose a challenge with their speed and quick passing. La Dea, as they are known, strengthened during the offseason, bringing in forward Riccardo Orsolini on loan from Juve as well as midfielders Marten de Roon and Josip Iličić.

The Italians also lost their best player over the offseason, with Franck Kessie going to AC Milan on loan with a view to buy.

Atalanta BC v Juventus FC - Serie A
Atalanta celebrate a goal against Juventus last season
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Cypriots Apollon Limassol are making their first appearance in the competition will mark their fifth straight year in the Europa League, and the third time they’ve made it to the group stages, in closing out Group E. They will have bitter memories of playing against a Merseyside club, having been eliminated 8-2 on aggregate against Liverpool in the 1992-93 UEFA Cup Winners Cup.

All in all, Everton fans looking for some memorable away days will have some lovely destinations to go to this autumn - France, Italy and Cyprus.

The minimal travel time for those away games - Everton have avoided any trips to Eastern Europe - should also help their recovery for league matches the following weekend.

Toffees are in Europe for the first time since 2014-15, when they reached the round of 16 stage before being beaten by Dynamo Kiev.

The dates of the fixtures will be confirmed later on Friday. The matches will be held on 14 and 28 September, 19 October, 2 and 23 November and 7 December. Here’s the full draw as conducted earlier today -