Now that the Champions League play-off round matches have been completed tonight, it’s worth having a look at the teams that along with Manchester United will be competing in the group stages of the World’s most illustrious club competition.
Firstly let’s have a look at the teams that will go into the draw tomorrow in Monaco in Pot 1.
Barcelona: Last season's Champions League (CL) Winners
Manchester United: Last season's CL Runners-up
Chelsea: Knocked out in CL Quarters by Manchester United
Bayern Munich: Knocked out in CL Quarters by Inter Milan
Arsenal: Knocked out in CL Last 16 by Barcelona
Real Madrid: Losing CL Semi-finalists to Barcelona
FC Porto: Last year's Europa League (EL) Winners
Inter Milan: Knocked out in CL Quarters by Schalke
It’s hard to argue that those teams based on their form domestically and in Europe do not deserve to be going into the draw tomorrow in the first pot and it would be fair to say that those 7 teams along with United should go through to the last 16 of the competition.
The only two teams on paper who you might not expect to top their group would probably be Arsenal and last season's Europa League winners Porto, who have certainly had a difficult summer after losing key players and in the Portugese side's case a manager.
Bayern under their experienced coach Jupp Heynckes will be looking to go further this campaign as the 2012 Champions League final will be at their home ground, the Allianz Arena so they will be under pressure to get to at least the semi-finals.
Here are the teams that are going into the draw tomorrow in pot 2:
AC Milan: Knocked out in CL Last 16 by Spurs
Lyon: Knocked out in CL Last 16 by Real Madrid
Shakhtar Donetsk: Knocked out in CL Quarters by Barcelona
Valencia: Knocked out in CL Last 16 by Schalke
Benfica: Knocked out at CL Group Stage
Villarreal: Losing CL Europa League Semi-finalists to Porto
CSKA Moscow: Knocked out in EL Last 16 by Porto
Marseille: Knocked out in CL Last 16 by Manchester United
As you can see there are some strong looking teams there. Milan as always will be hard to beat in the competition and with a younger looking team this year could be a dark-horse to win the competition that they have won an incredible 7 times.
The two Spanish sides Valenica and Villarreal have lost good players this summer but should have enough about them to go through to the knockout stages. Marseille certainly have an attacking-look to their side and their young players will want to impress again as they did in last year's competition.
Lyon as ever will qualify from their group as should Benfica. The two Eastern-European sides Shakhtar and CSKA could struggle to get out of their groups despite doing well in the competition in recent years and will most likely rely on their home-form this year.
Here are the teams that are going into the draw tomorrow in pot 3:
Zenit: Knocked out in EL Last 16 by FC Twente
Ajax: Knocked out in EL Last 16 of by Spartak Moscow
Bayer Leverkusen: Knocked out in EL Last 16 by Villarreal
Olympiacos: Knocked out in 3rd Qualifying Round of EL by Maccabi Tel Aviv
Manchester City: Knocked out in Last 16 of EL by Dynamo Kiev
Lille: Knocked out in EL Last 32 by PSV Eindhoven
Basel: Knocked out of CL Group Stage
BATE Borisov: Knocked out in EL Last 32 by PSG
Two teams stick out in pot 3 for obvious reasons. Firstly Ajax under Frank De Boer appear to be moving in the right direction and with the legend that is Johan Cruyff working hard as an advisor for the Dutch Champions, the good times could be about to return to Holland's most historic club.
The other team that stands out (and they're be hard not to miss this year with their Poznan celebration) is of course - the noisy neighbours themselves - Manchester City, who even before they signed Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri with had enough in their squad to go far in the competition this year.
Lille could be an interesting team to watch this year as having won the French title last year will be expected to make a good showing of themselves. They could make it out of the groups, but will struggle if they were to lose their talisman Eden Hazard to Arsenal - who certainly have money to spend now.
Finally here are the teams that are going into the draw tomorrow in pot 4:
Borussia Dortmund: Knocked out of EL Group Stage
Napoli: Knocked out of EL Last 32 by Bayer Leverkusen
Dinamo Zagreb: Knocked out of EL Group Stage
APOEL Nicosia: Knocked out of EL Play-off Round by Getafe
Trabzonspor: Knocked out of EL Play-off Round by Liverpool
Genk: Knocked out of EL Play-off Round by FC Porto
Viktoria Plzen: Knocked out in 3rd Qualifying Round of EL by Besiktas
Otelul Galati: Not in European football last year
This pot clearly has two very strong teams in last year’s Bundesliga champions Dortmund and Napoli who finished 3rd in Serie A last season. Both teams have enough quality to reach the knockout stages but it remains to be seen how they will cope with the added pressure in the competition.
Trabzonspor are in the draw for the first time in their history due to replacing last season’s Turkish champions Fenerbahce in the competition who were banned from competing by the Turkish Football Federation due an ongoing match-fixing allegation involving the club.
The two unknowns in this draw are the Czech champions Viktoria Plzen who surprisingly beat FC Copenhagen in the play-off round this week and the Romanian champions Otelul Galatji who in winning their league, automatically earned a place in the group stages.
By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87