Tomorrow is a big day for Chelsea fans, as we'll find out who our three opponents for the Champions League group stage will be. The draw for all games that take place before the January window closes will take place tomorrow at 17:45 CET (11:45 am ET, 8:45 am PT, 21:15 IST), and we'll have the results for you as they're announced.
If you've followed the site for a while, you're surely familiar with the fantastic draw tool that Graham has created to let you know our possible opponents. It's been updated after today's results, and can be found below. Simply scroll over a team, and it will immediately show you other teams from the same association that can't be drawn into the same group. As three of the four Premier League teams are in pot one for the draw, that simply prevents us from drawing Manchester City initially.
Pot two is the scary one for Chelsea, as their are a pair of potential nightmare opponents in that group. We'll clearly want to avoid both Juventus and PSG, as both have fantastic rosters and would be legitimate threats to win any group. AC Milan are a big name, but frankly they aren't a very good side anymore. Shakhtar gave us problems last season, but three of their best four players have since left the club.
I feel the best case for Chelsea here would be to draw Schalke, Milan, or Marseille. Schalke would prevent us from drawing Dortmund, Milan eliminates Napoli, and Marseille just aren't a very good side. CSKA and Shakhtar should also be relative pushovers, but those do involve some travel to locations that could have awful weather by December.
Pot three has one potential nightmare for the Blues, as Borussia Dortmund are by far the best opponent in that pot. Manchester City are probably the best team in the pot this season, but they aren't a problem for Chelsea because they are in the same association. As long as we avoid Dortmund in pot three, we should be all set.
That said, both Zenit and Galatasaray provide a quality opponent with travel issues, so all things considered, I'd prefer to avoid that pair as well. As long as we avoid Borussia Dortmund though, we shouldn't be looking at a 'group of death' situation.
Unlike last year, pot four doesn't have a single team that scares me at all. Napoli are the only side there that would even remotely worry me, and frankly, they are a shell of the side they were two seasons ago when we played them. I'd still love to see us avoid them just because they're easily the best of pot four.
As far as who I'd like to see us draw from pot four, I honestly don't care. Outside of Napoli, I think the other seven teams should all be looked at as six points, with most being a pretty good chance for Chelsea to pad their goal differential.
I'm sure many of you have opinions on who you'd like and who you'd like to avoid, so please be sure to discuss those preferences in the comments section below. We'll also have a thread up for you tomorrow, and will have a more detailed scouting report on the three teams grouped with us shortly afterward.