Chelsea FC, Arsenal FC, Manchester United and Manchester City will get to know what is in store for them in the 2015/16 Champions League group stage when the draws are held on the 27th of August. TheHardTackle takes a look at the teams the English sides can draw ahead of the ceremony this Thursday.
The draw for the 2015/16 Champions League group stage will take place at 5.45pm UK time on Thursday , the 27th of August, in Monaco.
English giants Manchester United will have their fate decided by then, as they take on Belgian side Club Brugge in the second leg of their play-off tie – up 3-1 form the first leg.
The draw, which will be streamed live on the official website of UEFA, will see 32 of the best teams from around Europe making up eight groups of four teams each.
Before these groups are made, the participating teams will first be sorted into four pots, with one team from each pot going into one of the eight groups.
Following changes to the regulations this year, for the first time Pot 1 will be made up of the Champions League holders and the champions of the top seven associations according to UEFA’s country co-efficient rankings – including league winners from Spain, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal, France and Russia.
As FC Barcelona are the league winners as well as the holders of the Champions League, the eighth Pot 1 spot has been given to PSV Eindhoven, champions of the eighth-placed nation in the co-efficient, Holland.
No two teams from the same nation can be in the same group.
Chelsea FC: Since the London side are the champions of England, Chelsea will be in Pot 1 and cannot face any of the winners of any other major European league. Chelsea FC stand a fairly strong chance of drawing Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid or Porto from the second pot with three of the eight spots taken up by English teams which Chelsea FC cannot draw. The other teams in Pot 2 can be Valencia, Bayern Leverkusen if they qualify.
Arsenal FC: Arsenal finished third in the Premier League, but are guaranteed to be in Pot 2 irrespective of what happens in the playoffs and will face one domestic champion from a list of FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Paris-Saint Germain, Zenit St Petersburg and PSV from Pot 1. As they are in Pot 2 themselves, they can avoid the likes of Real, Atletico and Porto and will also not be drawn in the same group as Chelsea FC.
Manchester City: Having endured some really tough groups in recent times in the Champions League, City will be relieved at the new rule introduced by UEFA for drawing groups.
City are guaranteed to be in Pot 2 regardless of the results of the qualifying round despite their low coefficient points. However, they need to improve if they are to remain in the pot 2 next year. They have the same possible opponents as Arsenal FC, but they will be hoping to not draw FC Barcelona, Batern Munich, PSG, or Juventus.
Manchester United: If Louis van Gaal’s men overcome Club Brugge and progress to the Champions League group stage following a year’s absence, they will certainly be in Pot 2 and face the same possible opponents as Arsenal and Manchester City. Louis van Gaal could face a reunion with his former side FC Barcelona or Bayern Munich, although he would want to avoid these clashes.
All the teams from Pot 3 and Pot 4 can be drawn by any of the four English teams.
Pot 3 teams that the English sides may want to avoid are Sevilla and Lyon, while AS Roma and Wolfsburg are two very dangerous sides from Pot 4.
The Group stage ties of the UEFA Champions League will take place between September 15 and December 9 and the top two teams from each group will go through to the first knock-out round. The third-placed teams will drop to the UEFA Europa League.