Arsenal’s slender hopes of securing a first ever Champions League trophy have just lost some more weight after the Gunners were handed a group containing last season’s beaten finalists Borussia Dortmund, Rafael Benitez’ Napoli and French side Marseille.
Of the four English teams in the hat Arsenal look to have the toughest task in progressing from Group F, especially with the presence of German powerhouses Dortmund to contend with. They have subsequently seen their price drift from 25/1 out to 33/1 to win the Champions League.
Nevertheless, having managed to successfully negotiate the group stages in 13 consecutive seasons, Arsene Wenger’s charges can still be backed at 10/11 to qualify for the knock-out stages.
When eventually prised open, the rub of the balls were a lot kinder to Chelsea though.
The Blues are pitted against Schalke and two sides that they actually overcame en route to Europa League glory last season in the shape of FC Basel and Steau Bucharest.
Subsequently, Jose Mourinho’s side have shortened into 10/1, having shrunk from their pre-draw price of 12/1.
The sighs of relief could almost be heard in Manchester’s sky blue quarter when Group D, which had briefly look liked representing ‘death’ with holders Bayern Munich the first to come out, eventually being filled out with CSKA Moscow and minnows Viktoria Plzen.
After two consecutively harsh draws City should now breeze through the group at 1/6 alongside Bayern, who remain unchanged as the 10/3 favourites for tournament glory. Interestingly though, Ladbrokes are 7/2 the German champions beat City in both group games.
David Moyes’ first foray into the Champions League proper will not be without peril either after Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen and Real Sociedad joined them in Group A.
A trip to the Ukraine to play Shakhtar is never an enviable task by anyone’s standards, though the Red Devils are still the 1/2 favourites to top their group.
Meanwhile, another really tough looking quartet is arranged in Group H where AC Milan, Barcelona, Ajax and Celtic will battle it out.
Last year’s quarter-final pairing of Barca and Milan will be simply sick of the sight of one another as these two famous names have now been pitched against one another for the third successive year in the group stages.
To Win Group A (Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad) – 1/2
To Qualify – 1/10
To Win Group D (Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen) – 6/4
To Qualify -1/6
To Win Group E (Schalke, Basel, Steaua Bucharest) – 1/4
To Qualify – 1/14
To Win Group F (Marseille, Dortmund, Napoli) – 3/1
To Qualify 10/11
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim three £10 free bets when you bet £10