Manchester United face a tough task to qualify for the knockout stages of this season’s Champions League. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has been drawn with PSG (last season’s losing finalists), RB Leipzig (semi-finalists last time out – PSG knocked them out) and new Turkish champions Istanbul Basaksehir (who aren’t doing well this season, admittedly). Welcome to hell, indeed.
The draw in full (Premier League clubs in bold):
Group A: Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Salzburg, Lokomotiv Moscow
Group B: Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter, Borussia Monchengladbach
Group C: Porto, Manchester City, Olympiakos, Marseille
Group D: Liverpool, Ajax, Atalanta, Midtjylland
Group E: Sevilla, Chelsea, Krasnodar, Rennes
Group F: Zenit, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio, Club Brugge
Group G: Juventus, Barcelona, Dynamo Kyiv, Ferencvaros
Group H: PSG, Manchester United, RB Leipzig, Istanbul Basaksehir
There are a few tough lots in addition to United’s Group H. Defending champions Bayern will not relish facing Atletico and Salzburg in Group A, whilst Real Madrid, Shakhtar, Inter and Monchengladbach is a very competitive quartet in Group B. And Group G is no picnic – neither Juve nor Barcelona will relish trips to Kiev and Budapest, although of course we get the delight of two match-ups between Ronaldo and Messi, something that hasn’t happened in European competition since 2011.
Another fun UEFA event, then
Chelsea should be more than happy with their luck, though – they can make it out of Group E (E is definitely for easiest) alongside Europa League specialists Sevilla.
Man City too will be reasonably content with the make-up of Group C. And I’d expect Liverpool to top Group D – Ajax and Atalanta have both lost key players in recent years, but there should be some entertaining matches in that one.
In fact, Man Utd are the only English club I see struggling to escape from their group. Is Solskjaer living on borrowed time? Yeah, I think he probably is.