Manchester City’s Champions League draw announced

Manchester City will face Porto, Olympiacos, and Marseille in another fortunate Champions League draw.

Despite beginning in Pot Two with the potential to face the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, or Juventus, Manchester City were handed another fortunate Champions League group stage draw. This season, City will face F.C. Porto, Olympiacos, and Marseille.

While another easy path to the knockout stage is good on paper because it should signal a simple task for City to advance for the eighth consecutive season, I believe a more difficult draw would have helped the team. City have had easy group stage draws for essentially the entirety of Pep Guardiola’s tenure in charge, and the team has always underperformed early in the knockout stages.

This may seem like a blessing, but given City’s recent spotty European track record, I believe a challenge early in the season could have set the stage for City to finally get over the hump and reach the first semi-final since Manuel Pellegrini left the club.

City will be firm favorites to advance and win just about every game in the group, but there is no clear worst team in the group. Marseille and Porto will likely fight to advance in second, but Olympiacos could also make some noise as they have in the past.

We will know little of City’s potential improvement from their performances in a lackluster group, and will need to prove themselves when the lights are brightest in order to change their reputation of European bottlers. Expect to see them in the knockout stage, and it is a better outcome than a group of death, but it may not be what is best for the club.