Arsenal drift; Chelsea cut
Arsenal were the big losers in Thursday's Champions League draw, but Chelsea saw their odds cut.
- Related Content
The Gunners were pushed out to a best of 40/1 by Sky Bet after being placed in the same group as Marseille, last year's runners-up Borussia Dortmund and big-spending Napoli, who had been the dangerous floaters in the fourth pot of seeds.
Chelsea, on the other hand, got off lightly with matches against Schalke, FC Basel and Steaua Bucharest now on the agenda.
They were duly cut and went as short as 8/1. Paddy Power, however, were prepared to offer 11/1.
There was a mixed reaction to Manchester United and Manchester City's draws.
United were put in Group A alongside Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen and Real Sociedad. BetVictor and bwin were left offering a best of 14/1.
A nightmare draw for City failed to materialise and, after two group-stage exits in the past two years, they would appear to have their best chance yet to progressing to the knockout phase.
Manuel Pellegrini's side will face holders Bayern Munich but also CSKA Moscow and Czech minnows Viktoria Plzen. Their odds were cut into 10/1 by Sky Bet but lengthened to 16s by bwin.
Sky Bet trader Chris Spicer said: "Arsenal were already considered a far longer price than the other Premier League sides having failed to strengthen in the transfer market this summer, but now they face a tough task in even making the knockout stages.
"However, their impressive record of making it through the group stages warrants respect, so we make them marginally odds-on to progress."
Spicer's firm offer 5/4 about all four English sides reaching the last 16 but BetVictor go 11/8. bet365 bet 40/1 that none of the English teams makes it through.
Their Steve Freeth assessed the draw thus: "Chelsea will be the most satisfied of the English quartet, Man City may think it could be third time lucky in the group stage, Man United could find it tricky, whilst Arsenal seem to have been done no favours."
Bayern's odds on becoming the first team to defend the trophy since the Champions League format was adopted were largely left unchanged at a general 7/2 but the little-known youwin were prepared to dangle 4/1.
Barcelona are second favourites at 9/2 (Sky Bet, youwin) after drawing AC Milan, Ajax and Celtic - the Scots are now rank outsiders at 1500/1 for the trophy with Sky Bet.
Nine-time winners Real Madrid are next in the market at a top price of 6/1 (youwin). They will face Juventus, Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen.
The odds suggest the competition is most likely to be won by a Spanish club - BetVictor went 15/8.
An English champion is 11/4 with BetVictor and bet365, the same price as a German winner. Sky Bet and BetVictor offer that.
Coral make all four English sides odds-on to qualify from their respective groups but at 4/6, Arsenal are considered by far the last likely. Chelsea are 1/14, United 1/5 and City 2/7.
Champions League group-stage draw:
Zenit St Petersburg
Matchday one - September 17-18
Matchday two - October 1-2
Matchday three - October 22-23
Matchday four - November 5-6
Matchday five - November 26-27
Matchday six - December 10-11