Champions League First Round Draw: Who are the teams Manchester United and Arsenal want to avoid?

Champions League Trophy

Arsene Wenger said it didn't matter if his side finished second in their group, but given the difference between the sides Arsenal and Manchester United might draw, he may have to revise that opinion.

As everyone knows, if you want to win tournaments, you are going to have to play the best teams in them at some stage. However disregarding the importance of giving yourself an easier run of it doesn't seem particularly wise, and with Arsenal finishing second in their Champions League group, they now are more than likely to face a tricky first round in the knockout stages.

Manchester United finished top of their group, and although there are a couple of teams they will desperate to avoid, they will likely get a favourable draw.

For United, Real Madrid are clearly the time to avoid, with Mourinho's men pushed into second in their group by Borussia Dortmund.

As Mourinho himself said, the past two times his sides have finished second in their group they've gone on to win the Champions League, and with the quality they have in their ranks, they are still one of the favourites for the whole tournament. The other side United will be very keen to avoid is Shakhtar Donetsk, who were so impressive in Chelsea's group.

The other four teams that Manchester United could draw pose less of a challenge. Whilst Milan are improving, they still don't look like they will be able to compete in Europe this year, only qualifying with eight points from their group.

Porto are also tricky, but United should be able to beat them, and the same goes for Valencia. Celtic could be interesting, and their performances against Barcelona were incredible, but United would be expected to win through fairly comfortably.

Whilst United are looking to avoid two teams, Arsenal really have only one favourable side to draw, Malaga's excellent start has fallen away a little bit in the league, and you'd think that Arsenal would be able to beat them, The rest of the sides look ominous.

PSG are inexperienced in Europe, but have Zlatan and a host of other impressive players. They're probably the second best draw available. Then there's Juventus and Dortmund, conquerors of Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City and Shakhtar already, and that's before we get to the really big guns. Barcelona and Bayern Munich are rightly considered amongst the favourites for the tournament, and if Arsenal pick either name out of the hat, it will be very tough to see them making the quarter finals.

The nature of things will probably dictate that Manchester United draw Real Madrid and Arsenal get Malaga on the 20th December. But with the odds already stacking up against Arsenal compared to United, Wenger might be wishing he'd sent a stronger team to Greece on Tuesday.

Who do you want, and who don't you want?

image: © andyjakeman

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