The draw for the 2020/21 Champions League group stage has been made, and Manchester United probably wish they could do it all over again.
The Red Devils received an unfortunate hand after being drawn alongside last season’s finalists Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Istanbul Bakasehir in Group H.
It’s not ideal, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will take solace from Man United’s win over PSG in the round of 16 in 2019.
It might take a similarly heroic effort for United to reach the knockout stages this season.
The draw was held in a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland, and United were placed in pot two
That meant a meeting against one of Europe’s big boys was to be expected.
Yet the draw did spark a surprise when Didier Drogba pulled Man United’s name from the selection.
The Red Devils were the penultimate team drawn from pot two but were instantly placed in Group H, with the host saying: “One group only is open and that is Group H.”
Then Man City, the last team drawn from pot two, were placed in the much more manageable Group C.
So why couldn’t United be drawn in Group C?
Because of Liverpool.
The 2019 Champions League winners, placed in pot one, had been drawn in Group D as the first eight teams were picked out.
And when that happened, it meant Man United couldn’t be drawn in Groups A-D as the two teams cannot be in the same side of the draw.
Liverpool and United are paired together for TV purposes, just like Barcelona and Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and PSG and Marseille. They therefore cannot both play on the same night.
So Group H was the only group left available to Man United when their name was called out.
RB Leipzig then joined them in the group, adding to an already problematic draw for Solskjaer’s side.
City, on the other hand, will take on Olympiacos, Porto and Marseille in a much more appealing group.
Click HERE to see the group stage in full.
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