After an exciting round of qualification playoffs for a berth in the UEFA Champions League. The draws have been announced, and it is not a very pleasant one for some of the English clubs.
Manchester City’s hard-luck in UEFA Champions League
In the last four years, Manchester City has always faced a tough test in the group stages of the Champions League. This season too, their luck wasn’t good enough as they drew runners-up Juventus, Europa League winners Sevilla and a highly talented Borussia Monchengladbach. Like most campaigns, City would have the Premier League title on top of their agenda.
However, it is about time they made a statement among Europe’s elite clubs. Having already sorted their way through the tough groups in the last two campaigns, they faced the Barcelona test in the pre-quarters.
With a pretty solid start to their Premier League campaign this season, they would hope to finish top of the group and avoid teams like Barcelona in the pre-quarters. The only team likely to stop that from happening could be Juventus, but ruling out the likes of Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach will not be so smart either.
Arsenal to face familiar opponents
The Gunners are up against familiar faces, Bayern Munich and Olympiakos in their group along with Dinamo Zagreb. Considering the Gunners past form against the teams and during the group stages, it will not be difficult for them to qualify for the pre-quarters behind the German Giants.
Arsenal have failed to qualify ahead of the round of 16 since the 2010 campaign, which is certainly not a very positive result for a side that has been consistently qualifying for the Champions League for nearly two decades now. Arsenal too like Manchester City has had bad luck in the round of 16 facing teams like AC Milan, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
One thing for the good, Arsenal need not worry about facing Bayern again in the round of 16. However, they certainly need to worry about how to get ahead of Bayern Munich in the group to avoid facing another tough opponent in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League this season.
Chelsea, Manchester United should sail through
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is set for a reunion with his former side FC Porto in the group stages along with Dynamo Kyiv and Maccabi Tel-Aviv. The Premier League champions did not have the start to the season that they would have liked, but the recent addition of former Barcelona forward Pedro has brought a new dimension to the Chelsea attack.
On the other hand, Manchester United has tricky opponents in Wolfsburg, who have great potential to cause an upset at any given time. The group also includes PSV Eindhoven and CSKA Moscow who would not be easy opponents to face for the Red Devils, who are yet to impress in the Premier League this season.
However, both the teams should comfortably proceed to the round of 16 given their stature in world football.