Zabaleta wants luck of the draw

Pablo Zabaleta is looking forward to competing for Manchester City in the Champions League

Pablo Zabaleta is looking forward to competing for Manchester City in the Champions League

First published in National Sport © by

Pablo Zabaleta hopes Manchester City's higher Champions League seeding will prevent another 'group of death' when the draw takes place in Monaco on Thursday.

City's current UEFA co-efficient will see Manuel Pellegrini's side in the pot of eight second seeds in the draw, which should hand his club an easier group than in the last two seasons.

Chelsea and Arsenal, should the Gunners qualify, will be in the pot of eight top seeds, and Liverpool among the third seeds.

City were drawn in the same group as Bayern Munich last season but still managed to qualify, while they finished bottom of an even tougher group in the 2012-13 season against Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax.

Argentina defender Zabaleta said: "We know we are Manchester City and have a strong squad to play against the best teams in Europe so we will see the draw and this time if we have a little bit more luck than the last few years.

"We were in the group of death and it has always been tough for us in Champions League - but it is a competition we are looking forward to and hopefully we can do better.

"The rest of the teams see Manchester City as a tough team to have in the group and I think that is the most important thing for us."

The prospect of being drawn in as tough group as that is a worry for Liverpool - with the worst-case scenario seeing the Reds drawn with reigning champions Real Madrid, big-spending Paris St Germain and Italian side Roma.

Chelsea and Arsenal, however, will be guaranteed to avoid the big European powers such as Real, Barcelona, Bayern or last season's beaten finalists Atletico Madrid.

The draw at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco will see 32 teams drawn into eight groups of four. The English clubs cannot be drawn into the same group as each other.

As in previous seasons, the top two in each group will qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions League and the third-placed side go into the knock-out stages of the Europa League.

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