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Swansea handed Europa League glamour tie against Valencia

| 30.08.2013

The gauntlet has been tossed to the feet of Swansea as they prepare to embark upon their first venture into continental football.

Michael Laudrup’s men have been pitched in Group A of the Europa League along with penniless Spaniards Valencia – 16/1 second favourites to win the competition with Ladbrokes – in what is the highlight of the draw from a British perspective.

The remainder of the group consists of Russian outfit Kuban Krasnodar and St Gallen of Switzerland ensuring some exciting away days for fans of the Welsh club, who will remember all too well their flirtation with extinction not that long ago.

Swansea are available to back at 40/1 to win the Europa League at the first time of asking.

Another side making their bow on the European stage is FA Cup winners Wigan.

The Latics have been tasked with an unenviable commute to Rubin Kazan, in addition to trips to Slovenia to take on SK Maribor – who are familiar with Championship adversaries having faced Birmingham two seasons back – and Zulte Waregem on their maiden Europa League voyage.

Owen Coyle’s side do have a chance of progressing, but their 150/1 price to lift the trophy that Chelsea won last term should perhaps be a little longer given their gruelling fixture commitments the Championship has tasked them with fulfilling.

One of the most detestable aspects of the Europa League is it guarantees mammoth, long-haul treks into every corner of the continent and a jaunt to Anzhi Makhachkala is arguably the one all teams hope to avoid.

Tottenham have become the second Premier League club in as many seasons forced to make this unwanted sojourn to Dagestan having being paired with them in Group K.

Spurs – 10/1 market leaders to win the competition – have got a very air-mile unfriendly schedule, having pulled Romanian outfit Sheriff out of the hat alongside Tromso of Norway. Still, despite the travelling, you’d expect them to canter through the group stage given the inferiority of all of these opponents.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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James Middleton