UCL draw analysis: Chelsea, Spurs get worst of congestion

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We know the group mates for the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League, but how do the fixtures play out for the five Premier League sides in the tournament?

[ MORE: Full UCL draw ]

Those answers, along with pre-draw expectations and the peers in their groups have us wondering whether the stocks of each are up or down.


Chelsea
Last season: Not in Europe
Best finish: Won 2011-12 Champions League

Fortune is… slightly down. As Antonio Conte begs for depth at Stamford Bridge, he’ll face two top sides. One faces a similar depth challenge in Atletico Madrid, while AS Roma may not have the top end force but is steady well past its regular 18. At least Qarabag will get some big money gate receipts.

As for the fixture list, woof. Chelsea has to go to Atleti three days before hosting Man City, it heads to Roma five days before hosting Manchester United, and goes to Qarabag three days before heading to Liverpool.

Tottenham Hotspur
Last season: Finished behind Monaco, Bayer Leverkusen in Group E
Best finish: Quarterfinalist, 2010-11 

Fortune is… way down. Spurs supporters deserved a better fate that Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, and APOEL Nicosia. It’s probably a dead heat between Spurs and BVB as to who finishes second and who goes to the Europa League.

How do the fixtures go for Spurs? They are home to Everton before opening up UCL play with a visit from BVB, but consider this fortnight (or so):

Oct. 17 – at Real Madrid
Oct. 22 – vs. Liverpool
Oct. 28 – at Manchester United
Nov. 1 – vs. Real Madrid

Holy smoke.

Manchester City
Last season: Lost to Monaco in Round of 16
Best finish: Semifinalist, 2015-16

Fortune is… steady-to-up. Many figured City was already built to win its group barring an absurd draw, and this is far from tricky. Napoli will give City a real hassle in terms of a group win, and Pep Guardiola will need to be very careful in how he sets up his back line. Neither Shakhtar Donetsk nor Feyenoord have the quality to pip City nor Napoli to second barring remarkable transfer work before the end of the deadline.

Man City two toughest matches — both versus Napoli — are fairly well insulated by Premier League fixtures, excepting a trip to Napoli on Nov. 1 which is four days before a visit from Arsenal. Keep in mind the visiting Gunners will have one less day’s rest because of Europa play.

Liverpool
Last season: Not in Europe
Best finish: Five titles (last in 2004-05)

Fortune is… up. It’s between Sevilla and Liverpool for top team in the group, and the Reds should probably be favored to win it. Neither Maribor nor Spartak Moscow will receive many second place predictions from pundits and fans.

The Reds fixture set-up could be worse, but starts rough with a visit from Sevilla which comes four days after Liverpool plays at Man City in the Premier League. A trip to Maribor is sandwiched between PL matches against Manchester United and Spurs, while Liverpool’s Nov. 21 trip to Sevilla is four days before a visit from Chelsea (who has one less day’s rest).

Manchester United
Last season: Won UEFA Europa League
Best finish: Three titles (last in 2007-08)

Fortune is… up. Big time. United has a history of getting friendly group draws dating back to Sir Alex Ferguson‘s days in charge of the club, and this is no different. Benfica is tricky in Europe, but CSKA Moscow and Basel should present little challenge to Jose Mourinho.