Champions League Draw: English clubs split their luck

Associated Press

Associated Press

Arsenal and Manchester City will be regretting finishing second-place in their Champions League groups.  Arsenal have drawn Bayern Munich, while City will square off against FC Barcelona.

Bayern Munich, the reigning Champions League title holders, look poised to run for a repeat.  Although Munich have been the usual dominating force in the Bundesliga again this season, they have not performed as flawlessly against competition outside the league.

Just recently, Manchester City took down the German giants on their home ground.  Arsenal’s disappointing loss to Liverpool may have the club looking out of sorts, but the Gunners have every chance of upsetting Pep Guardiola’s Bayern.

As crazy as it sounds, Manchester City may have actually been fortunate to draw Barcelona.  The Spanish powerhouse has been running low on steam this season.  With Lionel Messi out with injury, Barcelona have struggled to create space between their competitors in La Liga.  Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have been ruthless in their campaigns while Barcelona have appeared to be on a slow cruise.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Manchester City would be mad to believe it will be an easy task, however.  Neymar has grown and thrived in recent matches.  The young Brazilian striker returned to his natural position as center forward due to Messi’s absence and he did so in impressive fashion.  Just as well, by the time the two clubs meet, Messi should be fit enough for play.

Surely, no manager wants to face off against Barcelona, but Manuel Pellegrini has Manchester City on a hot streak currently.  As long they don’t cool off in the near future, they will have a very good chance to take a run at Barcelona. City’s powerful midfield and threatening group of attackers may prove too much for what has become an aging Barcelona midfield.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had his wish granted with his club’s draw against Galatasaray.  Didier Drogba will be making a historic return to Stamford Bridge.  The day that will surely begin with monolithic gestures of Chelsea pride and gratitude towards the legendary striker from the Ivory Coast.

Despite their obvious advantage in terms of talent, Chelsea may not have as easy a time as one might think.  The Blues’ defense has been a mess lately.  Drogba still has enough in him to terrorize any and all of Chelsea’s defenders and he will likely be determined to score on his former club and manager.  Luckily for Chelsea, they do out-stack Galatasaray’s squad in basically every position besides at striker.  As long as the Blues can find goals from their talented midfield, they should be fine to see this fixture through.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Finally, Manchester United have lucked out with the kindest of draws.  The reigning Premier League champions have drawn Olympiakos.  While Moyes and United have struggled in the Premiership this season, their Champions League form has been nearly flawless.  If that form continues into this fixture, Olympiakos will serve only as a warm-up for United.