Chelsea top seeds in draw for Champions League
Chelsea may not have won the Champions League yet but if football had a rankings system, like golf or tennis, they would be acclaimed as the continent's best. The Uefa coefficients, which determine the seedings for today's Champions League draw, place Chelsea at No 1.
The seedings, which are based on the last five seasons' results in the Champions League and Uefa Cup, also list Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal in the top six with only Milan (No 2) and Barcelona (No 4) interrupting English hegemony.
This means that all the English entrants to this afternoon's draw will be top seeds. They will thus avoid meeting Barcelona, Jose Mourinho's Internazionale, and Real Madrid. They could not have faced one another even if they had been in different pots. Celtic are in the third pot, and thus have a significant chance of drawing an English team.
There is, though, the possibility of drawing a very dangerous "Group of Death" with Claudio Ranieri's Juventus in Pot 2, Uefa Cup winners Zenit St Petersburg in Pot 3, and Atletico Madrid in Pot 4. The draw will be made at 5pm BST, in Monaco. The top two teams from each group progress to the knockout stages.
The next best English side in the rankings are Newcastle United (14th). Other clubs in the top 50 are Middlesbrough (31st), Tottenham Hotspur (33rd), Bolton Wanderers (47th) and Everton (50th). Like Newcastle these placings are on the strength of performances in the Uefa Cup . Of Scottish clubs Rangers are 24th [they may have made the second seeding pot had they qualified for this season's Champions League] and Celtic 41st. The draw for the Uefa Cup is tomorrow, also in Monaco.
Champions League draw pots
Chelsea, Liverpool, Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United, Lyon, Internazionale, Real Madrid.
Bayern Munich, PSV Eindhoven, Villarreal, Roma, Porto, Werder Bremen, Sporting Lisbon, Juventus,
Marseilles, Zenit St Petersburg, Steaua Bucharest, Panathinaikos, Bordeaux, Celtic, Basle, Fenerbahce
Shakhtar Donetsk, Fiorentina, Atletico Madrid, Dynamo Kiev, CFR Cluj, AaB Aalborg, Anorthosis Famagusta, BATE Borisov.