The 2021/22 UEFA Champions League groups were unveiled on Thursday. Some exciting tie-ups were ensured in a draw that was anything but boring. The Premier League teams, however, were drawn to very competitive groups.
Neither team really got an ‘easy’ draw – even though Manchester United are probably the happiest with their group. With four PL teams in the group stages, it’ll take a lot of good work for all of them to move into the knockout rounds. So let’s take a look at the English teams.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE DRAW OUTCOME FOR PREMIER LEAGUE TEAMS
GROUP A – MANCHESTER CITY
Last year’s Champions League finalists Manchester City have FINALLY been placed in a rather competitive group. No more unknown minnows for them to score 10 goals in every game anymore. The Citizens have been placed alongside a PSG side rejuvenated by Lionel Messi’s arrival.
However, with Cristiano Ronaldo closing into a shocking move to City, we could run back the Ronaldo vs Messi battle in Europe again! RB Leipzig are not to be underestimated because they have some quality players. Unfortunately, Club Brugge will probably be the whipping boys – but could pull off some surprises.
Group A Prediction
This is guaranteed to be a very exciting group. I think PSG will just nudge out City to win it, with the Citizens finishing second. Don’t think any Cinderella story happens for Leipzig this time around.
GROUP B – LIVERPOOL
Now, THIS is definitely the group of death. There might be a lot of fanfare over Group A, but Group B has two teams who’ve won the Champions League on 5+ occasions! Liverpool have been drawn into a challenging group against (European nemesis?) Atletico Madrid – who controversially knocked them out of the competition in 2020.
FC Porto came up with some big surprises last season & can repeat that this time around as well. AC Milan are playing in the Champions League for the first time since the 2013/14 season. They’ve definitely gotten the European pedigree (having won this competition on 7 occasions!) and led by a vibrant Zlatan Ibrahimovic are a team everyone ought to keep an eye on.
Group B Prediction
Being the group of death, this is a difficult one to predict. Liverpool should still win the group because they look really good this season. For the runners-up spot, I’ll go for something interesting here. For me, FC Porto goes through as the runners-up & Atletico Madrid are forced to play Europa League soccer later this season. Don’t really see AC Milan being able to make a huge impact in their first season back in the UCL because of how difficult this group is.
GROUP F – MANCHESTER UNITED
After being put in a horrible group of death last time, Lady Luck finally favours Manchester United in the Champions League group draw. That being said, Group F isn’t the ‘easiest’ one for them. But it’s not the most difficult one either.
The Red Devils have enough quality to defeat all the teams in the group. The games against Villarreal will, of course, hold higher importance after the La Liga side defeated them in the Europa League final last season. Atalanta, also, plays a very exciting attacking style & could blow away any team in the group.
Young Boys would be the team every other team looks to get maximum points off and honestly can’t see anything else happening otherwise. Should be an entertaining group nonetheless.
Group F Prediction
I honestly can’t see Manchester United not making it out of their group. That just shouldn’t happen at all. The Red Devils really ought to win the group because of the quality they have & because of the lessons learned from last season. Villarreal probably finishes second and pips Atalanta to that spot. But don’t see baffled to see some major surprises in this one, because it should be an open group.
GROUP H – CHELSEA
Defending champions Chelsea have (perhaps ironically?) been placed in the last group of the Champions League. Fortunately for Thomas Tuchel’s side, it’s a case of the same old as the last season. Last time they had Sevilla as their only prominent opponent in the group, this time it’s a (potentially Ronaldo-less) Juventus.
Can’t really have much to analyze about in this one. Could Zenit & Malmo come up with some surprises? Yeah probably. But can’t see either posing a prominent challenge to the European giants.
Group H Prediction
Chelsea should win this group rather comfortably because of the form they’ve in this season. Juventus, even without Ronaldo, are still strong enough to move into the knockout rounds. Their games against Chelsea will be very interesting ones to watch. The others? Probably not that much.
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