Just a few days after newly-promoted Cardiff served him a dose of Premier League embarrassment, Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini’s misery could be compounded by his side being handed another Champions League ‘group of death’.
Thanks to UEFA’s largely indecipherable coefficient system, Man City’s task to escape the clutches of the group stages at the third attempt are seriously hampered by the confirmation they are certain to be seeded in Pot 3.
In short, as well as being exposed to all the other top-seeded teams such as champions Bayern Munich, City now face the daunting prospect of facing one of Pot 2’s big guns, a shortlist which includes Juventus, Paris St Germain and Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Citizens have paid the price for finishing bottom of their group last season and this means their 12/1 billing to go grab glory in their first campaign under Pellegrini could be about to shoot outwards.
However, at the same time the balls could still be favourable to City, with the likes of Benfica and Porto named as top seeds and teams such as CSKA Moscow and Marseille floating around in the second string.
If this is the case, that 12/1 marker may actually be a plump price to take before the draw is made, especially with new Ladbrokes customers reaping the rewards of £30 in free bets if they stick £10 on it.
The fact that Pellegrini marched his far lesser-resourced Malaga side to within a whisker of the semi-finals last season has to be the major positive in the Man City camp. Alongside guiding Villarreal to the semis in their 2005/06 campaign, this had to be the overwhelming reason behind the Chilean’s appointment to replace Roberto Mancini this summer.
Now, no matter which way the balls come out of the hat, Pellegrini will be expected to progress, especially after such considerable investment in the squad during this window.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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