After successfully winning the Europa League last season, Manchester United find themselves dining at European football's top table once again this season. The draw for the group stages takes place on Thursday, August 24 in Monaco and United find themselves in Pot 2, alongside their 'noisy neighbours' Manchester City.

The Pots

The draw is made up of 4 pots and each group will feature a team from each pot. Pot 1 is made up of Real Madrid, as current holders, and the champions of seven other countries including Premier League winners Chelsea.

As Europa Cup winners United find themselves in Pot 2 with Manchester City and importantly, big spenders Paris St Germain, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

The rules for the drawing process are straightforward in that no team can play a team from the same pot, and more importantly, no team can be drawn in a group from the same country.

This will have some impact on United's fortunes if they can avoid Spanish giants Real Madrid in the group stage.

Worst case scenario

United must hope that they avoid Real Madrid from Pot 1. The current Champions League cup holders and La Liga champions are favourites to retain the trophy this year. Equally challenging would be a draw alongside German giants Bayern Munich. United's worst draw would be Real Madrid from Pot 1, Napoli, who finished 3rd in Serie A and scored an impressive 94 goals in 2016-17 and Leipzig who were runners-up in the Bundesliga.

Best case scenario

If United do avoid Real Madrid, then they will be hoping to draw Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk from Pot 1 who only qualified, according to UEFA's coefficient ranking, by virtue of Real Madrid winning La Liga. Donetsk, along with Spartak Moscow are the two lowest ranked teams in Pot 1. From Pot 3 they will be hoping for FC Basel and from 4, Apoel Nicosia of Cyprus.

Mourinho's second season

As his second season has gotten off to a flying start in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho must be hoping for a good draw for United as they re-enter the Champions League. As a previous winner, he knows only too well the riches that success in a competition like this can bring. With a favourable draw, United can look forward to progressing to the knockout stages where anything could happen and with odds of 14/1 on them lifting the trophy next year how many will fancy a flutter?

Champions League Odds

Real Madrid are favourites to retain the trophy for an unprecedented third successive season with odds of 9/2. Barcelona, with its ageing stars, are second favourites at 6/1. German giants Bayern Munich are also at 6/1. The first English team to be quoted odds are Pep Guardiola's Manchester City at a lengthy 12/1.