Which Premier league manager will go furthest in the Champions League this season?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 26 August 2016, 10:07

The Champions League draw has been concluded and we now know who each of the four Premier League teams will face in the group stages of Europe’s elite competition.

Inevitably Pep Guardiola locks horns with former club Barcelona, Arsene Wenger will be content with Arsenal’s group, while Mauricio Pochettino and Claudio Ranieri will feel their teams have a cracking chance of progressing through to the knockout stages.

Pep Guardiola (Man City)

  • Group C: Barcelona, Man City, Borussia Monchengladbach, Celtic
  • Group C Winners: 11/4 (Bet Victor)
  • Outright Odds: 14/1 (Betfred)

Pep Guardiola is the only boss on this list who has actually tasted success in the Champions League, twice with Barcelona, although his last triumph came back in 2011. The Spaniard has since failed in three attempts with Bayern Munich - stuttering in the semi-final each time - but after switching jobs he’s been tasked with transforming last year’s semi-finalists, Man City, into a major European power.

City were the top performing English team last season, and they have the shortest odds of the four Premier League clubs - pest-priced 14/1 to go all the way. However, before City can even contemplate battling it out in the knockout stages, they must first progress from an enthralling Group C.

It was inevitable wasn’t it, Guardiola coming up against the team (Barcelona) he led to a multitude of trophies during a stunning four-year spell. However, while those two fixtures will grab the headlines, City must also contend with the tricky German outfit Borussia Monchengladbach (who Guardiola will also know well), along with Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic.

Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)

  • Group A: PSG, Arsenal, FC Basel, Ludogorets
  • Group A Winners: 13/8 (Bet365)
  • Outright Odds: 33/1 (Betfair)

Arsenal’s failure to win the Premier League since the hazy days of the 2003/04 is a constant thorn in the side of the supporters, however the club’s shortcomings in Europe in recent years are equally as painful.

The Gunners have never won the European Cup - finished runners-up in 2005/06 - while they’ve frustratingly been booted out in the last-16 in each of the last six seasons. In fairness they have lost out to Bayern Munich and Barcelona in four of those campaigns, although their surprise defeat to Monaco two years ago remains a painful memory.

In what could potentially be Arsene Wenger’s final stab at Champions League glory his troops have been placed in Group A alongside PSG, FC Basel, and Ludogorets. The Frenchman will be reasonably content with the draw, but the might while the might of PSG goes without saying, it’s worth remembering that FC Basel thrive against English clubs, while Ludogorets caused Liverpool numerous problems two years ago.

Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham)

  • Group E: CSKA Moskva, Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham, Monaco
  • Group E Winner: 6/4 (Coral)
  • Outright Odds: 40/1 (Sky Bet)

Tottenham return to the Champions League for the first time since their enthralling 2010/11 campaign when Harry Redknapp’s men dazzled their way through to the quarter-finals. Spurs may them come unstuck against Real Madrid, but the memories of Gareth Bale causing carnage against Inter Milan will long live in the memories of supporters.

Tottenham are a completely different side under Mauricio Pochettino who will be making his managerial debut in the competition. Bookmakers originally hadn’t given the North London outfit much of a chance, at 66/1, but after a favourable Group E - Bayer Leverkusen, Monaco and CSKA Moscow - they have come in at 40/1 (Sky Bet). Sours are unsurprisingly the 6/4 favourites to top the group, but nothing is for granted in this competition.

Claudio Ranieri (Leicester City)

  • Group G: Leicester, Porto, Club Brugge, FC Copenhagen
  • Group G Winner: 13/8 (Betfred)
  • Outright Odds: 60/1 (UniBet)

Leicester City famously made a complete and utter mockery of their odds of 5000/1 to win the 2015/16 Premier League…and look how that turned out for bookmakers. Prior to Thursday’s draw the Champions of England were a 100/1 (Betfred) shot to go one better and be crowned the kings of Europe, but they are now as short as 40/1…they couldn’t…could they?

Manager Claudio Ranieri will quietly be content with his side’s draw. The Foxes, seeded in Pot 1, have been placed in Group G alongside Porto, Club Brugge and FC Copenhagen, and will definitely fancy their chances of making it through to the knockout stages…and if so, simply anything can happen.

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Steve Ball
Steve Ball
(Colchester United)
23rd February
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