Man City drift for Champions League after nightmare draw

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D clearly stands for Death in the case of Manchester City this season as the draw for the group stages of the Champions League could have barely gone any worse for the Premier League champions.

The worse plausible draw beforehand would have seen them pitted with fellow domestic champions Real Madrid, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.

Exchange Juventus for Dutch champions Ajax and this is Group D, which is arguably worse than what Man City encountered when also in the toughest group at this stage 12 months ago.

The result is that Manchester City have drifted slightly from 7/1 to 6/1 to win the Champions League.

D may stand for Disaster for Ajax as they were thumped 3-0 twice by Real Madrid last season and finishing third in the group would almost be as big as an achievement as their previous trophies in the competition.

Another interesting feature of the group will see Mario Balotelli come face to face with Jose Mourinho, with the pair previously having a fiery partnership together at Inter Milan.

Defending champions Chelsea will also not have it easy as it was they that drew Juventus in Group E.

Shakhtar Donetsk are also in the group and are notoriously tough to beat on their own patch, along with Danish debutants Nordsjaelland.

Elsewhere, Olivier Giroud will not have to wait long before returning to Montpellier as they were placed in Group B with Arsenal.

Schalke and Olympiakos make up the group and Arsene Wenger should be satisfied as the Gunners look to go beyond this stage for the 13th successive season.

As is becoming increasingly common, Manchester United lucked out and seemingly have the easiest passage to the last 16 of the Premier League clubs.

Based on this, the Red Devils have come in from 9/1 to win the Champions League.

They face Galatasary, Braga and Cluj but there will be no underestimating the opposition after falling at the first hurdle last season from a similarly easy group.

Prices to win groups

A
PSG 4/6
Porto 15/8
Dynamo Kiev 7/1
Dinamo Zagreb 18/1

B
Arsenal 13/8
Schalke 3/1
Montpellier 6/1
Olympiakos 8/1

C
AC Milan 4/6
Zenit St Petersburg 3/1
Malaga 4/1
Anderlecht 12/1

D
Real Madrid 8/11
Manchester City 9/4
Dortmund 9/2
Ajax 16/1

E
Chelsea 4/5
Juventus 11/8
Shakhtar Donetsk 7/1
FC Nordsjaelland 40/1

F
Bayern Munich 4/9
Valencia 3/1
Lille 7/1
BATE Borisov 18/1

G
Barcelona 1/9
Benfica 7/1
Spartak Moscow 14/1
Celtic 25/1

H
Manchester United 1/6
Braga 6/1
Galatasaray 10/1
CFR Cluj 33/1

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.