Having spent the last two seasons with clubs in Israel, Trinidad and Tobago’s Levi Garcia will get the exposure of playing against an English Premier League contender when his Greek Club AEK Athens face Leicester City in the group stage of the 2020-2021 Europa League.
Leicester City is currently among the early Premiership front-runners and were also the 2015-2016 English champions. The Foxes are unbeaten after three matches ahead of their match today against West Ham United. Already Leicester City has beaten star-studded former champions Manchester City (5-2), newly-promoted West Brom (3-0), and Burnley (4-2).
Trinidad and Tobago left-winger Garcia was in action for Greek club Athens in a 2-1 Europa League playoff victory over Germany’s Wolfsburg on Thursday, which sent them to the group stage along with Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Bayer Leverkusen, Napoli, PSV Eindhoven, AC Milan, Celtic, Glasgow Rangers, Napoli, Nice, and Villarreal. Garcia, 22, played for 80 minutes before being substituted. Having signed a five-year contract with Athens recently, Garcia was playing just his third match for his new club, who have now moved to the lucrative group stages of the Europa League.
AEK Athens was placed in Group G along with the English team, Braga (Portugal) and Zorya Lunaska (Ukraine) when the draw was held in Switzerland on Friday. The group stage begins on October 22. Meanwhile, English giants Arsenal will play Rapid Vienna in the group stage. Coach Mikel Arteta’s side will also come up against Molde from Norway and Dundalk from Ireland and will be the favourites to progress from group B to the knockout phase.
Arsenal were knocked out by Olympiacos in last season’s round of 32 and will be hoping to go further this season as Mikel Arteta builds momentum on the back of their FA Cup triumph in August, which saw them qualify for Europe. The Gunners have only played Rapid Wien twice and beat the Austrians 6-1 in the first leg of their European Cup tie in 1991, losing the second leg 1-0.
EUROPA LEAGUE GROUPS 2020/21:
A: Roma, Young Boys, Cluj, CSKA Sofia
B: Arsenal, Rapid Vienna, Molde, Dundalk
C: Bayer Leverkusen, Slavia Prague, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Nice
D: Benfica, Standard Liege, Rangers, Lech Poznan
E: PSV, Paok, Granada, Omonoia
F: Napoli, Real Sociedad, AZ, Rijeka
G: Braga, Leicester, AEK Athens, Zorya
H: Celtic, Sparta Prague, AC Milan, Lille
I: Villarreal, Qarabag, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Sivasspor
J: Tottenham, Ludogorets, LASK, Royal Antwerp
K: CSKA Moscow, Dinamo, Feyenoord, Wolfsberger
L: Gent, Red Star, Hoffenheim, Slovan Liberec