Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal will all progress to the last 16 of the Champions League, according to former Manchester United striker Michael Owen.
Following the draw for the group stage of Europe’s premier club competition, the former England international, who is a Liverpool legend and also played for Newcastle United and Real Madrid, took to social networking site Twitter to post the following:
No disastrous draws for our teams in The Champions League. I'd expect all 4 to progress.— michael owen (@themichaelowen) August 28, 2014
Let’s now take a look at the four English teams in the Champions League group stage and see if Owen’s verdict will come true.
Premier League champions City have been drawn against Bayern Munich, AS Roma and CSKA Moscow in Group E – one of the toughest groups in the competition.
Bayern are one of the three strongest teams in Europe and will be favourites to win the group. Roma cannot be written off rightaway as Rudi Garcia’s side have some of the biggest names in world football, such as Ashley Cole, Daniele De Rossi, Francesco Totti and Kevin Strootman.
On paper, CSKA will be the underdogs in this group, but winning in Moscow is not easy. The Russian champions do have the potential to take points off teams at home.
While City will fancy their chances of progressing from this group, dropping points in Rome and Moscow could cost them. By no means are Manuel Pellegrini’s side guaranteed a runners-up spot behind Bayern.
Owen’s former club Liverpool have been pitted in an easier group. The Reds will play Real Madrid, FC Basel and Ludogorets Razgrad in Group B.
While defending European champions Madrid will be favourites to win the group, Liverpool are likely to finish runners-up.
However, Basel have shown in the past that they are capable of pulling off a shock result or two, and Bulgarian champions Ludogorets are a relatively unknown quantity who could spring a surprise.
Like Liverpool, Chelsea have a relatively easy group. Jose Mourinho’s side will be favourites to win Group G that also comprises of Schalke, Sporting Lisbon and Maribor.
Just like City, Arsenal will have to fight tooth and nail against their opponents in Group D to progress to the last 16. The Gunners have been drawn against Borussia Dortmund, Galatasaray and Anderlecht.
While Belgian champions Anderlecht will be underdogs, Cesare Prandelli’s Galatasaray will give the Gunners and Dortmund a run for their money. The two places will be fought out between these three teams, and there is no guarantee that Arsene Wenger’s side will finish in the top two.