• Champions League Draw

Arsenal and United drawn favourably

ESPN staff
August 25, 2011
Barcelona are bidding to defend the title they won in May © Getty Images

Arsenal and Manchester United were handed favourable draws for the group stage of the Champions League.

The Gunners were pulled out alongside Marseille, Olympiakos and Borussia Dortmund in Group F while United will face Benfica, Basel and Otelul Galati in Group C.

Arsene Wenger has been fighting fires on a number of fronts, with star players Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas leaving at a time when they have made a slow start to the Premier League. The Emirates faithful are restless, but they were handed something to cheer when qualification was secured against Udinese and this was followed by a positive draw by Champions League standards.

Premier League champions and last year's beaten finalists Manchester United were the first team to be drawn out by Luis Figo and were placed in Group C alongside Benfica. The Red Devils' passage should be fairly simple, as Basel and Romanian champions Otelul Galati make up Group C.

Juan Mata was handed an immediate return to his former club, as his new team Chelsea were paired with Valencia in Group E. The Blues will also meet another old friend, as they have been pulled out alongside Michael Ballack's Bayer Leverkusen and Belgian side Genk.

Manchester City's debut in the Champions League will see them make trips to Bayern Munich, Villarreal and Napoli.

Sir Bobby Charlton took part in the draw and had an uncomfortable moment as he mistook Lyon for Marseille, but was quickly corrected and they were placed in the pot with nine-time winners Real Madrid.

Holders Barcelona have been handed AC Milan in Group H, but will likely make it through with little alarm after being pulled out with Viktoria Plzen and BATE Borisov.

Champions League groups:

Group A
Bayern Munich
Manchester City

Group B
Inter Milan
CSKA Moscow

Group C
Manchester United
Otelul Galati

Group D
Real Madrid
Dinamo Zagreb

Group E
Bayer Leverkusen

Group F
Borussia Dortmund

Group G
Shakhtar Donetsk
Zenit St Petersburg

Group H
AC Milan
BATE Borisov
Viktoria Plzen

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