Manchester City’s low UEFA coefficient means they will almost certainly end up in pot three, and they could easily have a nightmare group again.
Saturday night’s results in Spain saw Real Sociedad qualify for the Champions League ahead of Valencia by finishing fourth in La Liga. This was good news for Arsenal, who now should have a relatively straightforward fixture in their play-off to get into the group stages, and in theory it also boosted Manchester City’s hopes of an easier group.
Sociedad have a lower UEFA coefficient than Manchester City, but even if the Spanish side get through the play-offs, the chances are City will be in pot three of the draw for the group stage.
If three of Lyon, Arsenal, Milan, Schalke and Zenit St. Petersburg qualify from the play-offs, as they almost certainly will, City will be in pot three. Having suffered early exits in the Champions League and Europa League over the past few years, Manchester City have failed to boost their coefficient enough to qualify for pot two.
They will be kicking themselves for not making it a little further, especially when in the Europa League, as their coefficient of 70.592 is only slightly lower than PSG’s 71.800, and the French side are already guaranteed a spot in pot two.
Manchester City will now face likely one of Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Benfica and Porto from pot one, and PSG, Atletico Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk are among those who could be in pot two (assuming Arsenal qualify, which would knock Atletico Madrid out of pot one).
Below them, pot four will probably include 2011-12 rivals Napoli, who will be a force even if they lose Edinson Cavani this summer.
Having had Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal in 2011-12, before drawing Real Madrid, Borussia Dormund and Ajax last season, Manchester City might have hoped for an easier time of it next season.
However their past failures in the Champions League have cost them, as has their indifference towards progressing in the Europa League, and it might mean they end with a group consisting of Bayern Munich, PSG and Napoli next year, or indeed facing off against one of the Spanish giants. There will be plenty of fingers crossed in Manchester on the 29th August.
image: © markhillary