Champions League draw kindest to Man Utd and Chelsea
Manchester United and Chelsea were handed the most favourable Champions League draws of the four English clubs and are the most certain to finish atop of their respective groups.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have shortened slightly in the Champions League odds to win the competition from 6/1 to 11/2 after being pitted in Group C alongside Benfica, Basel and debutants Otelui Galati.
This is arguably as good a draw as Manchester United could have dreamed of and they are 1/6 to qualify for the second round as group winners.
Chelsea will also be pleased after being placed in Group E with Valencia, Bundesliga runners up Bayer Leverkusen and Belgian outfit Genk.
Avoiding away trips to typically tricky eastern European destinations would have satisfied new manager Andre Villas-Boas and Chelsea’s odds are 1/3 to win Group E and 8/1 to lift the trophy for the first time.
Manchester City face what will potentially be called the ‘Group of Death’ after being drawn to face Bayern Munich, Villarreal and Napoli.
However, they are still the favourites to top Group A at 6/5 and are 11/1 to win the Champions League.
Group F does not look too bad on paper for Arsenal, although they were unfortunate to draw Bundesliga winners Borussia Dortmund from pot four, alongside Marseille and Olympiacos.
The Gunners have slipped to 25/1 to win the Champions League and are favourites at 11/10 to win the group.
Elsewhere, defending champions Barcelona face AC Milan, BATE Borisov and Viktoria Plzen in Group H, while Spanish rivals Real Madrid are in Group D with regular Champions League opponents Lyon, Ajax and Dinamo Zagreb.
Group G sees Porto tackle Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit Saint Petersburg and Apoel Nicosia, while Inter Milan are favourites to win Group B, where they will meet CSKA Moscow, Trabzonspor and French champions Lille.