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UEFA Champions League: Analysing the group stage draw for Premier League teams

ANALYST
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302   //    01 Sep 2018, 18:35 IST

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Super Cup
The UEFA Champions League Draw was held in Monaco, France on August 30.

A new Champions League season, some new qualified teams, but the same excitement for watching the elite of European football battle it out for continental glory.

By this time, it seems the Premier League teams have forgotten how to bring out their best in the competition. Ever since Roberto Di Matteo led Chelsea to their maiden Champions League title in the 2011-12 final, against Bayern Munich, we have not seen any PL team go all the way and lift the prestigious trophy.

And this time too, the path to UCL glory is set to be extremely tough as three of the four PL clubs find themselves in tough groups.

Tottenham Hotspur have been drawn with Barcelona, Inter, and PSV in Group B; Liverpool are pit agaisnt Napoli, PSG, and Red Star Belgrade in Group C; Manchester United will face Juventus, Valenica, and Young Boys as part of Group H.

The challenging group stage, which the English trio has got, does not bode well for the English teams, who have found it difficult to keep up with their Spanish counterparts in the competition over the years.

However, on the other hand, Manchester City have got a comparatively easy group to begin their European conquest in.


Early predictions

The defending PL champions, Manchester City, have been handed the easiest draw of all English teams and should get through the group stage without breaking a sweat. With Lyon, Shahktar Donetsk and Hoffenheim along with City, in Group F, it shouldn't be very difficult for Aguero and co. to even top their group.

Moving on to the other side of Manchester, Man United find themselves in a competitive group. The Ronaldo-inspired Juventus and Marcelino-led Valencia can complicate qualification for the Red Devils. The newcomers, Young Boys, shouldn't be hard to beat if United play their natural game.

Liverpool, the runners-up from last season find themselves in what some may call the Group of Death. With Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli in the same pool, Liverpool may find their match as these two teams are known for their attacking style of play as well.

Though Klopp has strengthened the squad since last time, especially in the goalkeeping department with the signing of Allison for a world record fee, how the team fares against the Parisians and the Neopolitans remains to be seen. This is a group to watch out for.

Tottenham have been really unlucky in terms of group stage draws lately. After getting Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund last season, they are up against Barcelona and Inter this time.

Despite their tough group last time, Spurs still managed to top the group, and if they are to progress, they will have to pull off something similar this time around too.


Final thoughts

Man City look to be clear favourites to advance to the next round, but Liverpool, Man United, and Tottenham Hotspur will have to fight to remain alive after the end of the group fixtures. Judging by their current form, the Reds and Spurs appear the most ready for the task at hand.

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