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Sunday 4 December 2016

Another tough ask for City in Euro draw

Chelsea, United get kinder Champions League path but Arsenal face Bayern

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (l) receives from UEFA President Michel Platini the Best Player UEFA 2015 Award during the draw ceremony for the 2015/2016 Champions League at Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum while Cristiano Ronaldo (c) looks on in Monte Carlo
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (l) receives from UEFA President Michel Platini the Best Player UEFA 2015 Award during the draw ceremony for the 2015/2016 Champions League at Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum while Cristiano Ronaldo (c) looks on in Monte Carlo

Manchester City's Champions League curse returned to haunt them after they were drawn with last season's finalists Juventus and Europa League winners Seville for the group stage of the competition.

City, who have suffered tough draws in the last four seasons of the Champions League, were selected in Group D - with the other team being Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach.

Arsenal also face a tough task in Group F against Bayern Munich, who have eliminated the Gunners from the competition in two out of the last three seasons - but have more straightforward opposition from Greek side Olympiakos - who are in the middle of a match-fixing scandal - and Dinamo Zagreb from Croatia.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will have a return to a former side Porto, whom he took to Champions League glory in 2004, and his side should have little trouble in Group G with Dynamo Kiev and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Manchester United's return to the competition after last year's absence should also not trouble manager Louis van Gaal too much, with the opponents in Group B being PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow and German side Wolfsburg.

Manchester City's head of football administration Brian Marwood admitted the club seemed to experience bad luck in Champions League draws.

He said: "It's the best 32 clubs in Europe so you have to expect there will be some tough games in there and we do always seem to draw very difficult groups, but it is what it is, we have to deal with it and we'll hopefully progress."

Arsenal's group has a familiar look to it for the Gunners. As well as the Bayern connection Arsenal and Olympiakos have now been drawn together in the group stage for the fourth time in seven seasons.

David Miles, Arsenal club secretary, admitted to feeling a chill when the Gunners were put into Bayern Munich's group.

He said: "The draw started ominously when we were picked in Bayern's group but overall I think we can we relatively pleased with how it turned out.

"Bayern have knocked us out twice so it is about time we returned the favour - let's hope so anyway."

Carlo Cudicini, global ambassador for Chelsea, insisted that the Stamford Bridge club did not have an easy draw.

He said: "Porto is a club that Jose knows very well of course. This not an easy draw at all - I don't think going to Tel Aviv and Kiev are easy trips. Maccabi are champions of Israel with a manager (Slavisa Jokanovic) who is an ex-Chelsea and knows English football very well."

Manchester United's draw will see Memphis Depay return to the club that he starred for last season. The Dutch winger said on Twitter: "Well, well PSV - guess we'll see each other soon."

In other groups, Real Madrid and Paris St Germain will meet in Group A along with Shakhtar Donetsk and Malmo.

Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo said: "It will be tough as I think this group is strong but we are going to do the same as before and try to qualify and the win the Champions League."

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