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The main talking points from today's Champions League group-stage draw

Man United will be happy, Man City won’t while Jose will get a nice reunion with a certain ex-Real Madrid goalkeeper.

Louis van Gaal and Manchester United will be very happy

IT’S DIFFICULT TO remember a draw that was particularly unkind to Manchester United. And they’ll certainly be pleased with how this one went. Looking at the various top-seeds they could’ve got, the Dutch champions PSV are a nice fit.

Louis van Gaal and his staff will know them very well, as will Memphis Depay. The youngster spent his entire senior career with the Dutch club and was a huge reason why PSV won the Eredivise crown last season after his 22 league goals.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Qualifying - Play-off - Club Brugge v Manchester United - Jan Breydel Stadion Memphis Depay will take on his former club in this year's Champions League group stage. Source: Nick Potts/EMPICS Sport

Former Ajax player Daley Blind will also have the inside track on the Eindhoven club.

Elsewhere, United will have to navigate a trip to Moscow and an assignment with Russian runners-up CSKA. That means a familiar face will reacquaint himself with the club –  Zoran Tosic.

United’s trickiest tie in Group B will certainly be the fixtures against Wolfsburg, last year’s Bundesliga runners-up and German Cup winners. They have a host of familiar names in their ranks, namely current Man City target Kevin de Bruyne and Andre Schurrle.

Striker Bas Dost managed 16 top-flight goals last term and is a huge threat up front. But should de Bruyne leave, it will ensure a big hole in the side.

Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City are up against it once more

Last season was certainly an improvement for the Premier League side as they finally managed to navigate the group stage before a knock-out round defeat to Barcelona.

Still, they don’t exactly have the best Champions League memories and this is another tough draw. As well as relentless Italian champions and last season’s runners-up Juventus, City will take on Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Italy Soccer Serie A Sevilla could prove an interesting side to watch in this year's group stage and have recruited some big names in the transfer window - including Fernando Llorente. Source: Massimo Pinca/AP/Press Association Images

The Spaniards were crowned Europa League winners, finished 5th in La Liga and boast an impressive squad. They’ve just secured the services of Fernando Llorente while they brought in Ciro Immobile on loan from Dortmund. Also arriving is perennial Premier League club target Yevhen Konoplyanka, French centre-back Adil Rami and, slightly bizarrely, former Stoke midfielder Steven N’Zonzi. Their captain is ex-Arsenal attacker Jose Antonio Reyes.

The German side were third-best in the top-flight mainly thanks to the triple-threat of Raffael, Patrick Herrmann and Max Kruse. The latter has since moved to Wolfsburg though their spine remains strong with Swiss internationals Yann Sommer and Granit Xhaka always reliable.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic to return to his hometown

After Malmo defeated Celtic in their play-off second-leg last night, Zlatan Ibrahimovic tweeted the following:

It proved pretty prophetic though the Swedish attacker, who was born in the city and began his career there before moving to Ajax in 2001, probably never thought he’d get to return home so quickly.

It promises to be a battle between Malmo and Shakhtar Donetsk for the Europa League spot given the force of the top seeds in Group A – Real Madrid and Zlatan’s Paris St-Germain.

Still, it promises to be a really nice moment when the attacker goes home. The reception for a local hero will surely be something and who knows? Maybe, just maybe, Zlatan will dare to shed a tear or two.

Jose Mourinho to face Porto and Iker Casillas

The Special One didn’t enjoy his time at Real Madrid. As Barcelona were dominating everything, his side were struggling to stay relevant and the one La Liga title he racked up in his three years with the club was seen as a failure.

Spain Soccer Champions League Source: Paul White/AP/Press Association Images

In the end, everything ended in acrimony – not least with some of his players. Mourinho dropped iconic goalkeeper Iker Casillas – a Real Madrid player for 25 years – and he stood accused as a leak for the media, a symbol of what was going wrong. But even after Mourinho left, Casillas remained. He eventually won his place back and held that most longed for ‘La Decima’ high above his head in May 2014. But things weren’t the same. The scars ran deep, the simmering toxic atmosphere hard to ignore.

And so he left and joined Porto – his farewell at Madrid was said, tearfully, in a room with only photographers and journalists present. The executives of the club didn’t care, the way it ended leading to finger-pointing and even more bad blood. Madrid, pathetically, arranged a photo-call with Florentino Perez and Casillas and all the trophies he won during his time at the club. It was all very weird.

And there’s more weirdness to look forward to as Casillas’ new side will take on Mourinho and Chelsea in Group G.

And it promises to be very tasty indeed.

Arsenal will take on Bayern Munich…again

Twice in succession Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich.

And both times it was pretty tight.

In 2013, Arsenal trailed 3-1 from the first-leg, went to Bavaria and scored twice. But still lost on the away goals rule. The following year, the game at the Emirates proved the difference again – the Gunners losing 2-0. Still, they went to the Allianz Arena and scored again but it wasn’t enough and Pep Guardiola’s side progressed.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - Second Leg - Bayern Munich v Arsenal - Allianz Arena Arsenal have got close to Bayern whenever they've played...but not close enough. Source: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Arsene Wenger knows the German side incredibly well and will certainly favour facing them in a group-stage setting rather than a knock-out situation.

The side Wenger will arguably worry about the most is Olympiakos. This will be the fourth time the North London side have been paired with the Greeks in six years and Athens is a place Arsenal do not enjoy visiting.

Their last three Champions League visits to Olympiakos have ended in defeat – the last coming in December 2012.

Elsewhere in Group F, Arsenal will take on Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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