With the draw for the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League group stage made in Monaco on Thursday, the four Premier League teams had contrasting fortunes when their names were drawn from the glass bowls at the gala event.
[ MORE: UCL group stage draw in full ]
Once again Manchester City will be feeling very hard done by as they have an incredibly tough draw, while Arsenal have also been handed a tough test.
Chelsea and Manchester United will both have a cheeky grin on their faces after favorable draws, so let’s take a look at how all four PL teams got on with the draw.
Another incredibly tough group for City as they face last season’s runners up Juventus, reigning Europa League champs Sevilla and German side Borussia Monchengladbach. Ouch. Manuel Pellegrini’s men have been knocked out in the last 16 by Barcelona in each of their last two UCL campaigns, and last year they had to negotiate a very tricky group stage against Roma and CSKA Moscow. If Juve fail to recover from losing the likes of Carlos Tevez and Andrea Pirlo then City has a chance, but Sevilla and Monchengladbach will be very tough to beat away from home. Worst draw of the English teams and not ideal as Pellegrini hoped to take City into the last eight for the first time in club history.
Gunners fans will have exhaled deeply when they were paired with Bayern Munich in Group F. Bayern have prevailed against the Gunners in the last 16 in two of the last three seasons in the UCL and the reigning German champions will be favorites to prevail from the group. The other two teams, Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos should be easy games to negotiate for the Gunners, but one slip up could cost them a spot in the knockout round. Arsenal have qualified for the UCL for 18-straight seasons under Wenger, but they have failed to make it past the last 16 since 2010.
Well, that couldn’t have gone any better for the Red Devils. Granted, they have a long trip coming up against CSKA Moscow, but that’s about as tricky as it gets. They plucked out PSV Eindhoven, the top seed every team in Pot 2 wanted, and to cap things off they grabbed Wolfsburg to complete Group B. If Kevin de Bruyne leaves Wolfsburg for Man City, then their neighbors will end up doing United a big favor as he’s their biggest threat up top. All in all, a great draw for Louis van Gaal on United’s return to the UCL following a year out. Memphis will also get the chance to return to PSV in his first season at United.
Arguably an even easier group than United’s, Jose Mourinho will be very pleased with how his side made out. Encounters with his former team in his homeland, FC Porto, will be special for Mourinho as he led Porto to the UCL title in 2003-04 season. Some tricky away trips to Ukraine and Israel may test Chelsea, but they should handle Dynamo Kiev and Maccabi Tel-Aviv quite easily. After crashing out at the quarterfinal stage to PSG last year, Mourinho’s men will be looking to go all the way this campaign and they will have a great chance of coasting through the group stage after this draw.