After finishing second in the Premier League last season, Arsenal returns to the Champions League this year for the first time since 2017.
This season is the first time in seven years that Champions League matches will be played at the Emirates Stadium. Starved of participating in Europe’s biggest competition, Arsenal fans will be relieved this season of the social banter and ridicule they have experienced in the past seven years for not contending at the highest level of Europe’s most prestigious competition.
In order to advance to the knockout stages, Arsenal will be hoping for a fortunate draw in the group stage. In anticipation of another excruciating season, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Newcastle will all be praying for a better draw.
This season’s Champions League group stage draw will be hosted at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on Thursday, August 31. The draw will be broadcast live on UEFA.com at 5 oclock.
There will be 32 teams in the draw, including six play-off winners, whose identities will be revealed on August 29 and 30, and 26 teams that automatically advanced to the group stage.
Teams are then divided into four seeding pots prior to the draw.
The current champions (Man City), the Europa League victors (Sevilla), and the national champions of England, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, and Portugal will all be in pot 1. The final spot in Pot 1 was awarded to Feyenoord, the Dutch champions, because Manchester City won both the Champions League and the Premier League.
Pots two through four are then determined by club coefficient rankings (previous results in UEFA competitions).
Following that, a team will be chosen by each group from each pot. No club is permitted to field a team from its own association. For instance, Arsenal could not be placed in a group with Manchester City, Newcastle, or Manchester United.
The Following teams: Man City, Sevilla, Barcelona, Napoli, Bayern Munich, PSG, Benfica, and Feyenood will be in Pot 1.
In Pot 2: Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, RB Leipzig, Porto, Inter Milan, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Sporting CP.
In Pot 3: Salzburg, AC Milan, Lazio, Red Star Belgrade, and Sharkhtar Donetsk.
In Pot 4: Union Berlin, Newcastle, and RC Lens.
Six positions still need to be chosen. Tuesday and Wednesday are the dates for the second legs of the play-off rounds. The teams are: Young Boys/Maccabi Haifa, Panathinaikos/Braga, Galatasaray/Molde, AEK Athens/Antwerp, Copenhagen/Rakow, and PSV/Rangers.
The UEFA Champions League group matches are slated as follows:
Matchday 1: 19/20 September
Matchday 2: 3/4 October
Matchday 3: 24/25 October
Matchday 4: 7/8 November
Matchday 5: 28/29 November
Matchday 6: 12/13 December
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