Manchester City have been drawn in the Champions League group of death, while Chelsea have been gifted a dream section in the competition’s group-stage draw.
Meanwhile, Manchester United have also been handed a facile foursome that some would argue eclipses even that of the Blues in terms of easiness.
Europe’s blue-riband club tournament has seldom been kind to the Citizens since their cash-fuelled ascent to its rarefied environs in 2011/12.
This year has proven little different, with a coffin draw alongside last year’s finalists Juventus, back-to-back Europa League-bosses Sevilla and Bundesliga bronze medallists Borussia Monchengladbach the worst on offer by some margin.
As the graphic below illustrates, the competition’s most fiendish group hasn’t housed the European champions once during the last decade.
The good news from a City perspective is that they did manage to escape last season’s division of doom alive, finishing second behind FC Bayern Munchen.
Chelsea have been far luckier in the draw, with Porto the toughest rival they will face in Group G, with Dinamo Kiev and Maccabi Tel Aviv making up the numbers.
It’s a positive omen for their chances of finally spearing the Champions League title that has repeatedly eluded them across Jose Mourinho’s two tenures at the club.
‘Group of Life’ winners have gone on to contest the final no fewer than four times across the past decade, winning twice.
Man Utd’s section rivals the Blues’ for ease, with PSV, CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg far from timber-shivering foes.
Intriguingly, group of death winners have begun to fare better in the last few campaigns, suggesting a change in the trend may slowly be coalescing.
They have now outstripped table toppers from the competition’s simplest section three times in the last four years, with the fourth occasion seeing both first-placed teams eliminated at the quarter-final stage.
This is particularly interesting for Borussia Monchengladbach’s chances of a shock incursion deep into knockout territory.
A Bundesliga club, twice FC Bayern and twice Borussia Dortmund, have won the group of death in each of the last four renewals.