Champions League group draw: What awaits English clubs?

With the draw for the Champions League group stages coming up later this week, Sports Mole takes a look at what could be in store for the English clubs.

Arsenal's 5-0 aggregate victory over Turkish outfit Fenerbahce last night ensured that there will be four English clubs that go into the hat for this Friday's Champions League group stages draw.

They have joined Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, all of whom qualified automatically via their league finishes last term.

The full lineup for the draw has not been completed as some ties will not be concluded until this evening. However, with the quartet of English sides safely in place, Sports Mole has assessed the best and worst-case scenarios for the Premier League's representatives.


Arsene Wenger talks to the press before an Arsenal Champions League game.© Getty Images
Arsenal/Chelsea/Manchester United

Believe it or not, the Gunners are still regarded by UEFA to be among the top seeds. This is despite their failure to go beyond the last 16 during the previous three campaigns, as well as having finished no higher than third in the Premier League since 2005. It means that Arsene Wenger's side will avoid facing one of the better teams in the competition at the earliest stage.

Meanwhile, the fact that Chelsea could only finish third last year had no bearing on their status as one of Europe's top eight sides. After all, in May 2012 they won the tournament in Munich under the guidance of Roberto Di Matteo. Even with Jose Mourinho back at the helm, they are bound to be wary ahead of the draw, having copped for Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk this time 12 months ago.

The final English side to be among pot one is David Moyes's United. The three-time winners have reached a hat-trick of finals since 2008, but have only emerged victorious on one occasion. They last missed out on qualification to the knockout stages back in 2011 following a defeat to Swiss champions FC Basel.

Best-case scenario: Marseille, FC Copenhagen, Austria Vienna

Worst-case scenario: Paris-Saint Germain, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli


Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini on the touchline during a friendly match against Sunderland on July 27, 2013© Getty Images
Manchester City

As it stands, Manuel Pellegrini's men are in limbo. They won't know until tonight's results whether they will be among the second or third seeds. Lyon and AC Milan are currently ranked above City in line for pot two, but neither has nailed down their spot in the competition yet.

Lyon currently trail Real Sociedad 2-0, while Milan were held to a 1-1 draw during their opening leg against PSV Eindhoven. For the Citizens to be included in the second grouping, they need one of the duo to falter.

No doubt City will be keen for a favour or two, having entered last year's competition as third seeds and been dealt a group containing Real Madrid, Dortmund and Ajax. Under Roberto Mancini, they finished winless and bottom.

Best-case scenario as second seeds: Benfica, Copenhagen, Austria Vienna

Worst-case scenario as second seeds: Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli

Best-case scenario as third seeds: Benfica, Marseille, Austria Vienna

Worst-case scenario as third seeds: Bayern Munich, Paris-Saint Germain, Napoli

Hart of Manchester City looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Norwich City at Etihad Stadium on May 19, 2013
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