by Ifreke Inyang
To the larger Champions’ League audience, it didn’t matter if Arsenal failed to qualify last night. What mattered to them is which team their club will be facing as the draws for the group stages will be made today.
UEFA’s rules for the draw will see the 32 qualified teams allocated into eight groups of four teams. Each group will contain a top seed, plus one club each from the second, third and fourth pots. Each pot is determined by a club’s UEFA ranking but even the fourth pot contains some teams the English clubs would hope to avoid such as Dortmund, Napoli and Dinamo Zagreb. The top two in each group will go through to the knock-out phase of the Champions League, and the third-place side to the knock-out phase of the Europa League.
The pots for tomorrow’s Champions League draw are:
Pot one: Manchester United, Barcelona, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Porto, Inter Milan.
Pot two: Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, Villarreal, AC Milan, Valencia, Marseille, CSKA Moscow, Benfica.
Pot three: Zenit St Petersburg, Man City, Olympiakos, Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen, Fenerbahce, Basle, Lille.
Pot four: Borussia Dortmund, BATE, Dinamo Zagreb, Napoli, APOEL, Genk, Otelul Galati, Viktoria Plzen.
All eyes, no doubt will be on Manchester City. UEFA rules prevent clubs from the same country being placed in the same group, but City could still find themselves up against Barcelona, Milan and Dortmund in a glamorous group.
The draw will be conducted at the beachside Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo in a lavish ceremony. Ahead of the draw, UEFA will announce the inaugural winner of its Best Player in Europe award.