Sport Champions League

Monday 22 September 2014

Best and worst case scenarios for Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City in Champions League draw

Published 28/08/2014 | 14:48

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Cristiano Ronaldo holds aloft the Champions league trophy, as Real Madrid finally clinched La Decima, 10 years after their previous win in the competition. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo holds aloft the Champions league trophy, as Real Madrid finally clinched La Decima, 10 years after their previous win in the competition last May. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The four Premier League clubs in Champions League action this season will learn at 5pm who they will face in the group stages. Here are the best and worse scenarios for each.

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MANCHESTER CITY
Despite all of the heavy investment in recent years, Manchester City are yet to truly make their mark in European football.

Manuel Pellegrini's side reached the last-16 last season but were outclassed by Barcelona and exited with a whimper.

Their poor showing, last season was the first time they'd ever gone past the group stage in Europe, means City will again be in Pot 2 for Thursday's draw.

City cannot be drawn against other English teams, ruling out Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal if they qualify, but it does leave them with the prospect of facing Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich.

But there are still a couple of dangerous scenarios that the Blues will be keen to avoid.

Worst case scenario for Manchester City:

Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Roma

Best case scenario for Manchester City:

Benfica, Manchester City, Olympiacos, Maribor

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ARSENAL

The draw for the group stage of the Champions League is taking place on Thursday and Arsenal will be among those involving after defeating Besiktas in the qualifier.

Arsenal will not be able to face a side from the same country - which rules out meetings with Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. But that still leaves plenty of sides to avoid.

They are guaranteed to face one of Schalke, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, PSG, Shakhtar Donetsk, Basel or Zenit St Petersburg from Pot 2.

The sides to avoid from Pot 2 are 2012 finalists and German giants Borussia Dortmund, Italian champion Juventus and mega-rich French champions PSG.

Pot 3 - in which Liverpool are placed - includes Ajax, Sporting Lisbon and Galatasaray.

Even Pot 4 comprises some incredible teams. Monaco might have lost James Rodriguez but the big-spending side retain some incredible talents - not least Radamel Falcao. Ashley Cole's Roma side are also among the fourth seeds.

Possible scenarios Arsenal will want to avoid...

Borussia Dortmund, Ajax and Roma

Juventus, Sporting Lisbon and Monaco

PSG, Galatasaray and Roma

Worst possible group scenario for Arsenal

Arsenal, Paris St-Germain, Ajax, Roma

Best possible group scenario for Arsenal

Arsenal, Basel, Sporting, Maribor

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CHELSEA

Chelsea will go into Thursday’s Champions League draw hoping to go at least one better than they did last season, where they were dumped out at the semi-final stage by beaten finalists Atletico Madrid.

Jose Mourinho’s side are again among the top seeds owing to their stellar record in Europe over a number of years.

Their placing in Pot 1 ensures they will avoid the very best teams – the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona – and English teams cannot be drawn together, ruling out Manchester City and Liverpool.

But there are still a couple of dangerous scenarios that the Blues will be keen to avoid.

Worst case scenario for Chelsea

Chelsea, Paris St-Germain, Ajax, Roma

Best case scenario for Chelsea

Chelsea, Basel, Sporting Lisbon, Maribor

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LIVERPOOL

The draw for the group stage of the Champions League takes place on Thursday with Liverpool making their first appearance in the competition since the 2009/10 season.

Owing to their absence from the competition they won in 2005, the Reds have seen their Uefa coefficient diminish, meaning they are among the group of teams in Pot 3 which comprises the third seeds.

That has left Liverpool facing a potentially tricky group when the draw is made in Monaco.

Liverpool cannot face a side from the same country - which rules out meetings with Arsenal (if they qualify), Chelsea and Manchester City. But that still leaves plenty of sides to avoid.

They are guaranteed to face one of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Benfica, Atletico Madrid or Porto from Pot 1.

The options in Pot 2 are Schalke, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, PSG, Shakhtar Donetsk, Basel or Zenit St Petersburg.

With games left to play tonight, those in Pot 4 already include Anderlecht, Roma, APOEL, BATE Borisov, Maribor and Monaco.

Reigning champions Real Madrid are the team to avoid from Pot 1, although most of the sides among the top seeds will be tough. The other two Spanish sides, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, are particularly strong. Meanwhile Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich start the competition as one of the favourites.

The best sides in Pot 2 are 2012 finalists and German giants Borussia Dortmund, Italian champion Juventus and mega-rich French champions PSG.

Even Pot 4 comprises some incredible teams. Monaco might have lost James Rodriguez but the big-spending side retain some incredible talents - not least Radamel Falcao. Ashley Cole's Roma side are also among the fourth seeds.

Best case scenario for Liverpool

Benfica, Basel, Liverpool, Maribor

Worst case scenario for Liverpool

Real Madrid, PSG, Liverpool, Roma

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