Arsenal face nightmare Champions League group stage draw as top seeding pots confirmed

Arsenal were eliminated from the Champions League by Bayern Munich at the quarter-final stage (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

The projected seeding pots for next season's Champions League group stage draw have been revealed with Arsenal facing a nightmare scenario.

The Gunners are preparing for their second consecutive Champions League campaign after narrowly missing out on the Premier League title to reigning champions Manchester City. Next season will see significant changes to UEFA's flagship competition, with the number of competing teams increasing from 32 to 36. The traditional group stage is being replaced by a league stage, where each team will face two clubs from each of the four seeding pots.

Seeding pots will now be determined by coefficients, moving away from the previous system which was based on the holders, Europa League winners and domestic champions determining pots. Germany has secured a fifth Champions League spot due to their superior coefficient rating, while Atalanta's recent performances have earned Italy an impressive six spots.

Due to their six-year absence from the Champions League prior to this season, Arsenal are set to compete in the second seeding block alongside clubs such as Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen, Atletico Madrid and Atalanta, reports the Mirror. This situation could lead to a challenging Champions League campaign for Arsenal, as the first pot seeds have now been confirmed and include Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Inter, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Barcelona. The latter secured a pot one spot due to Roma's failure to qualify after their final Serie A season game.

Pot two has been confirmed to include Bayer Leverkusen, Atletico Madrid, Atalanta, Juventus, Benfica, Arsenal, Club Brugge and AC Milan. Shakhtar Donetsk are anticipated to join them through qualifying.

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Seven more spots need to be filled in the qualification stage. If everything goes as planned, Aston Villa will find themselves in pot four, alongside Monaco, Stuttgart and Bologna, while pot three could feature Celtic, Feyenoord, Sporting CP and PSV.

Teams will play eight group-stage games instead of six in the new format. The top eight teams will advance to the last 16, while those finishing ninth to 24th will compete in a play-off to join them. The losing eight teams would be eliminated, along with teams ranked 25th to 36th.

Clubs cannot face teams from their own country, which means Arsenal, City, Liverpool and Aston Villa cannot play each other. In the worst-case scenario, the Gunners might have to contend with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid from Pot 1 and Bayer Leverkusen and Juventus from Pot 2.