Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Now that we've qualified: The Champions League Draw Possibilities

Now that we've qualified (after cruising over Sparta Prague) I think it's about time to discuss the possible draws that we could face in the Champions League group stages. The way this works is that UEFA randomly draws one team from each pot into each group, so you get a team from pot 1, a team from pot 2, a team from pot 3, and a team from pot 4 in each group. Here are what the pots look like.

Pot 1:
AC Milan
Inter Milan
Real Madrid
Manchester United

Pot 2:
Sevilla/AEK Athens
PSV Eindhoven
Werder Bremen

Pot 3:
Schalke 04
Steaua Bucharesti
CSKA Moscow
Sporting Lisbon

Pot 4:
Shakhtar Donetsk
Dynamo Kiev
Slavia Prague

Even the teams in pots 3 and 4 are quite competitive, so it would be possible to be drawn a horrible group like Arsenal, Sevilla, Celtic, and Fenerbaçe. However, we could also end up with AEK Athens, Steaua Bucharesti, and Rosenborg, a fairly easy challenge.

Personally, I would like to see a draw of 1 fairly difficult teams and 2 "easy" teams. The reason that I don't want all of our challengers to be "easy" teams is that we never seem to do our best against sub-par opponents. Take last season for example, in which we won the double against the Champions, drew Chelsea home and away, and beat Liverpool 3 times across the course of the season (although we lost to them once); while we lost to teams that were closer to relegation than to European spots.

I think the ideal draw would be something like PSV Eindhoven (for revenge), Steaua Bucharesti, and Rosenborg. That way we would be pretty sure of getting through to the next round, but we would be kept on our toes by PSV, and we would be able to get our revenge. I guess we'll have to wait and see how it goes tomorrow...

What do you think would be the ideal draw? PSV for revenge, or AEK for a (hopefully) easy way through? Post your comments here.