Luck of the Draw? Premier League teams in the UEFA Champions League
Yesterday afternoon saw the draw for this year’s UEFA Champions League group stages. (For those new to this, it is a lottery style ceremony in which teams are placed into several groups for a league style round in which the top 2 teams from each group advance to the next round. There cannot be 2 teams from the same country in a group.)
Premier League sides in this year’s competition included: Manchester City (as Premier League title holders), Manchester United (Premier League runner up), Arsenal (Premier League 3rd place team), and Chelsea (2012 Champion’s League winner).
All four teams automatically qualified due to Chelsea winning last year’s Champions League competition.
As far as the draw went Manchester United were by far the luckiest of the 4 in drawing what many consider to be the easiest group. They should be able to get through easily enough, but then again, many people thought the same thing last season until they crashed out in the Group Stages.
Manchester City seems to have gotten the hardest group is what many are calling the Group of Champions. This group is called this due to each team having won their respective league titles last season (Real Madrid – Spanish La Liga, Ajax – Dutch Eredivisie, and Borussia Dortmund – German Bundesliga).
Arsenal and Chelsea both have some tricky sides involved in their groups, but should be able to ease through to the next round as well.
I would definitely be picking United, Arsenal, and Chelsea to see themselves through to the next round while I would pick City to be sent to the Europa League for the second season running.
Below are the groups:
Group A: Porto, Dynamo Kiev, PSG, Dinamo Zagreb.
Group B: Arsenal, Schalke, Olympiacos, Montpellier.
Group C: AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht, Malaga.
Group D: Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund.
Group E: Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, Nordsjaelland.
Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, BATE Borisov.
Group G: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic.
What are you expectations for the Champions League this year? Who would you pick to win it all?