The Champions League group stage draw was a favourable one for the English sides, with Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool all likely to have retained serious aspirations of making it through to the knockout phase.
Manchester City were subject of the toughest draw as they were set in an almost identical group to last year. The Sky Blues will take on Bayern Munich and CSKA Moscow, but instead of Viktoria Plzen Manuel Pellegrini’s men will face Italian heavyweights Roma in Group E.
Arsenal will take on Borussia Dortmund in Group D along with Galatasaray and Anderlecht in a potentially tricky pool for Arsene Wenger.
Chelsea, received, arguably, the most favourable draw of the English sides as they prepare to take on German side Schalke, Sporting Lisbon of Portugal and Slovenian outfit Maribor in Group G.
Liverpool were the last English side out of the pot, and Brendan Rodgers’ team face a difficult task as they take on defending champions Real Madrid in Group B. Swiss powerhouses FC Basel also await the Reds as well as Bulgarian debutants Ludogorets, meaning that the Premier League runners-up avoided the ‘group of death’ scenario facing them in the build-up.
Elsewhere PSG and Barcelona will face off in Group F, while last year’s finalists Atletico Madrid will face Juventus in the first group.
GROUP A: Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Olympiakos, Malmo
GROUP B: Real Madrid, FC Basel, Liverpool, Ludogorets
GROUP C: Benfica, Zenit St Petersburg, Bayer Leverkusen, Monaco
GROUP D: Arsenal, Dortmund, Galatasaray, Anderlecht
GROUP E: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, CSKA Moscow, Roma
GROUP F: Barcelona, PSG, Ajax, APOEL
GROUP G: Chelsea, Schalke, Sporting Lisbon, Maribor
GROUP H: Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Athletic Bilbao, BATE