The road to the Champions League final starts today, the 30th of August, in Monaco, where the Champions League group stages will be drawn. After Tuesday and Wednesdays qualifying matches, all 32 teams are now confirmed and are all put into their delegated pots. Below are the official pots:
Pot One: Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Porto, AC Milan.
Pot Two: Valencia, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St Petersburg, Schalke, Manchester City, Braga, Dynamo Kiev.
Pot Three: Olympiakos, Ajax, Anderlecht, Juventus, Spartak Moscow, Paris St Germain, Lille, Galatasaray.
Pot Four: Celtic, Borussia Dortmund, BATE Borisov, Dinamo Zagreb, CFR Cluj, Malaga, Montpellier, FC Nordsjaelland.
Champions League rules state that teams from the same country CANNOT be drawn in the same group as each other. Therefore even though Arsenal and Man City are in different pots, they still cannot be drawn into the same group.
So the worst case scenario for Arsenal would be a tough draw with the likes of Valencia, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund. 2 out of those 3 won their respective leagues last season and would cause a lot of problems for Arsenal and would provide them with a tough task of getting through to the knockout stages.
However on the other side of things, they could get drawn into a group which contains: Dynamo Kiev, Anderlecht and FC Nordsjaelland. This would provide an easier path through to the Champions League knockout stages.
So the first step to the Champions League final will be completed tonight and Arsenal will be hoping for a nice draw which will give them the best chance to get through to the knockout stages as they look to win the competition for the first time in the clubs history.
Alex William Batt