The UEFA Champions League group stage draw takes place today (Thursday) as Europe’s elite sides battle it out for a place in May’s final.
Chelsea are the defending champions, having beaten Premier League rivals Manchester City 1-0 at the Estadio de Dragao in the showpiece event last season.
German playmaker Kai Havertz netted the only goal of the game as head coach Thomas Tuchel tasted European glory for the first time in his career.
Luckily for the Blues, their incredible triumph last term means they will be in pot one for Thursday’s draw, joined by footballing royalty in the form of Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid, all of which won their respective domestic league titles last season.
However, several elite sides find themselves in pot two this year, meaning the west London club could find themselves in a group with one of Real Madrid, Barcelona or Juventus – three teams who have won a combined 20 Champions Leagues in their history.
We used a group stage simulator to determine who Chelsea, as well as fellow English sides Liverpool, Manchester United and Man City, could draw, and the results were extremely interesting.
Our simulation dealt the Blues a potential nightmare scenario as they came up against French giants Paris Saint-Germain, Italian outfit AC Milan along with Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg.
PSG are one of the favourites to win the competition this season after adding footballing icon Lionel Messi, who will spearhead their attack alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Furthermore, Chelsea would also have to face the five-hour flight to Saint Petersburg to face Zenit, who are not to be taken lightly after clinching the Russian Premier League last term.
AC Milan are arguably the most daunting side in pot four and our simulation saw the Blues draw the Rossoneri, who look a very tactically astute side under Stefano Piolo’s guidance.
Milan also have two former Chelsea players in their ranks, with English youngster Fikayo Tomori and French frontman Olivier Giroud both completing permanent moves to the San Siro earlier this summer.
Simulated Champions League round of 16 draw in full:
Group A – Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Porto, Malmo
Group B – Lille, Barcelona, Atalanta, Dynamo Kiev
Group C – Man City, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax, Sheriff
Group D – Inter Milan, Sevilla, RB Leipzig, Besiktas
Group E – Villarreal, Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk, Young Boys
Group F – Sporting Lisbon, Real Madrid, RB Salzburg, Wolfsburg
Group G – Bayern Munich, Man United, Benfica, Club Brugge
Group H – Chelsea, PSG, Zenit, AC Milan