The season's been over for about a week and we're already thinking ahead to next year. In this specific case, we have news about our Champions League campaign. Chelsea are in Pot 1 -- not a surprise after another relatively successful European season -- but the real news is in our potential group stage opponents. Assuming the favourites all make it through the playoff rounds, here's what ESPN say the pots will look like for the draw:
Pot One: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Benfica, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, FC Porto.
Pot Two: Schalke 04, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Basel, Zenit St Petersburg, Manchester City.
Pot Three: Bayer Leverkusen, Olympiakos, CSKA Moscow, Ajax, Napoli, Liverpool, Sporting Lisbon, Galatasaray
Pot Four: Anderlecht, AS Roma, AS Monaco and lots of to-be-determineds.
The rules of the draw prevent English teams being paired up with other English teams in the group stages, so we're down to seven possible opponents in pots two and three. And pot two looks especially strong, with BVB, Juventus and PSG all very difficult opponents. Fortunately, pot three is weaker, especially since it's impossible to draw Liverpool.
But that said right now it looks entirely possible that we could get a group of Chelsea, Dortmund, Napoli and Monaco, and... yeah let's hope that doesn't happen. I prefer my Champions League heart attacks coming in spring.