England's big hitters get their Champions League seedings

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Van Gaal has guided Man Utd back into the Champions League
Van Gaal has guided Man Utd back into the Champions League

The seedings for next season's Champions League are now falling into place and Manchester City have received a boost in their hopes of securing a positive group stage draw.

City's lowly seeding in UEFA co-efficient rankings has meant they have been given though tasks in the group stages over recent years, with their second place finishes in the opening round of the competition followed by clashes against Barcelona in the last two seasons.

A shake-up to the way teams will be seeded in next season's Champions League threw up the prospect of City being demoted to the third pot of seeds, which could have seen them thrown into a group with Bayern Munich AND Real Madrid next season.

Yet Napoli's failure to reach the Europa League final and boost their co-efficient ranking means City look to be secure as the final team among the second batch of seeds, where they will be joined by Manchester United and Arsenal.

The top seeds in next season's competition will be the eight champions from UEFA's top ranked leagues, in what is a change from the set-up over recent years that has often seen three or four teams from the same country given top seed status.

This new system will throw up the prospect of some enticing group stage clashes, but the second seeded teams may emerge as the strongest in their group if they are to be draw against Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven or Andre Villas-Boas' Russian champs Zenit St Petersburg.

Here is how the top pool of teams are shaping up for next season's Champions League: 

Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, PSG, Benfica, Zenit, PSV Eindhoven.

The second pot of teams will look like this: 

Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Manchester United*, Porto, Arsenal, Valencia*, Bayer Leverkusen*, Man City.

Under the old system, UEFA would have awarded top seeding status in the Champions League based on their own rankings, which currently look like this: 

1. Real Madrid (171.885)

2. Barcelona (162.885)

3. Bayern Munich (154.883)

4. Chelsea (142.078)

5. Atletico Madrid (120.885)

6. Benfica (118.276)

7. Schalke (111.883)

8. FC Porto (111.276)

9. Arsenal (110.078)

10. Manchester United (103.078)

Selected others: 17th Manchester City (87.078), 21st Tottenham (84.078), 42nd Liverpool (47.078)

* These teams will need to play a qualifying round to get into the Champions League group stages