Manchester City are likely to be handed a tough introduction to life in
the Champions League when the group stage draw takes place in Monaco on
City will be among the third seeds, meaning the likes of Barcelona,
Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Inter Milan are all potential opponents.
A group with Barcelona, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund is a possibility.
Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are top seeds so will avoid most
of Europe's biggest clubs.
The Gunners sealed their place with a 2-1 win away to Udinese on
Wednesday, securing a 3-1 aggregate victory.
Three-time winners United were beaten in the 2010 final by Barcelona,
while Chelsea are still searching for their maiden Champions League
City are competing at this level for the first time but the size and
strength of their squad suggests they are the most dangerous of the
Manager Roberto Mancini intends to rotate his squad to ensure City are
capable of challenging in Europe alongside the three domestic
"Rotating is no problem for me," said the Italian. "The problem is if you
don't have good players.
"For the manager it is not easy because all the players want to play
every game. But when you play in four competitions and have a match every
three days, there is space for everyone. It is impossible to play a top
game every three days.
"And the Champions League is very hard. It is different from the Europa
League. For this we need a good team, with good players and a good
Uefa's rules for the draw will see the 32 qualified teams allocated into
eight groups of four teams. Each group will contain a top seed, plus one
club each from the second, third and fourth pots.
Each pot is determined by a club's Uefa ranking but even the fourth pot
contains some teams the English clubs would hope to avoid such as
Dortmund - though the Germans could still be among the third seeds
depending on Wednesday's results - as well as Napoli and Dinamo Zagreb.
The top two in each group will go through to the knock-out phase of the
Champions League, and the third-place side to the knock-out phase of the