With the Europa League group stages starting today, it will likely translate into European action on a regular basis for Fulham and Everton regulars Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard. However, Dempsey is set to miss Fulham's opener against CSKA Sofia due to an injury. With Roy Hodgson set to rest a number of regular starters, there's a chance — however slight — that Eddie Johnson might see some action today against the Russian club. Fulham faces a relatively difficult group draw with AS Roma and FC Basel rounding out the rest of the group.
Tim Howard's Everton club is looking to improve on a rather weak beginning to their league campaign. They play host to AEK Athens, a relatively strong Greek side. Rounding out their group is Benfica and FC BATE Borisov, a Ukranian club.
The competition obviously lacks the firepower and prestige of the Champions League, but some of Europe's prominent clubs find themselves contesting for the renamed UEFA Cup. Celtic, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Valencia, Villareal and Roma are some of the bigger names that the casual fan should recognize.
What do you think of today's EUROPA League matches? Will Eddie Johnson make an appearance for Fulham? Can Everton recover from their slow Premier League start? Don't care about the Europa League? Share your thoughts below.