More On What The Champion’s League Draw Means For The English Clubs

Posted: September 1, 2018 in Arsenal, Champions League, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Tottenham Hotspur
Tags: , , , ,

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The first thing we must do before looking at the draw itself is congratulate the northwest clubs for almost monopolising the Champion’s League places.

This year we will be looking for improvement from Everton and West Ham and, if we are going to have another London club this time, we would quite like West Ham to be it. So goodbye again to Arsenal and Chelsea and, with a little luck, Tottenham Hotspur. Welcome to the Europa League AGAIN!

Anyway, the draw has been kind to Manchester City, reasonable with Manchester United and Liverpool and quite tough on Tottenham. Here are the groups which contain the English teams.

Group B                                                                                                   Group C                                                                                               Barcelona                                                                                                            Liverpool
Inter Milan                                                                                                          Napoli
PSV Eindhoven                                                                                                   PSG
Tottenham Hotspur                                                                                           Red Star Belgrade

Group F                                                                                                    Group H

Hoffenheim                                                                                                         Juventus
Lyon                                                                                                                      Manchester United
Manchester City                                                                                                 Valencia
Shakhtar Donetsk                                                                                               Young Boys

The only one of the four who may struggle to reach the knockout stages is Tottenham Hotspur although, if current form and confidence is anything to go by, then United could also be in danger of going out early.

Spurs are capable of giving anybody a decent game but things could be further complicated if they still need to use Wembley for their opening games. Moving to their new stadium halfway through the group stage would not be ideal even if allowable by UEFA.

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Tottenham may struggle against better teams and not having a home

On that basis, and because this is the toughest group, Spurs will do well to get anything away at Inter or Barcelona which means it is imperative that they beat these teams at “home”, wherever that may be. They then have to try and pick up something in at least two of the away games to have any chance of progressing.

This will prove to be too much.

Liverpool will be looking to win their group and, even if Napoli or PSG beat them to it they will be pretty confident of finishing second.

The unknown quantity is Red Star and each of the other three will be thinking that a lot of their points will come from those games in their bid to qualify.

Any complacency however, which would be very unlike Jürgen Klopp’s team, would see them finish behind Napoli and PSG and their dream of going one step further than last season will be over.

This group is not easy but it is winnable from a Liverpool point of view.

Manchester City, barring a colossal drop in form or standards, should already have one foot in the knockout stage.

There is no real reason why they couldn’t be qualified by the third or fourth game and may even finish with maximum points. This, of course, assumes that they don’t take their foot off the gas once qualification has been achieved, as they did last season when losing to Shakhtar Donetsk.

There is not a team in this group that they shouldn’t be taking six points from amd Guardiola probably had a very good night’s sleep after the draw.

Manchester United, on the other hand, have a tricky group to negotiate. Playing well and full of confidence we would expect them to win this group. Playing as they are with confidence low we would expect them to finish third. In other words, José Mourinho has around three weeks to get his team to an acceptable level for Champion’s League football.

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United need to find some form and quickly!

If he can manage that then there should be some excellent games in this group which would then see United progress as winners. Of the four this one is probably the toughest to call purely because of United’s inconsistency.

So the net result of all this, depending upon a couple of conditions being met by United, is that three of the four English teams should be present at the draw for the knockout stage. This, of course, will result in two of them meeting should they progress to the quarter or semi finals because UEFA does not like two English teams in the final, for some reason.

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