The quartet of Premier League clubs left in the UEFA Cup have every chance of making the last-32 stage. After all, the English top flight is supposed to be the strongest in Europe and Rangers demonstrated last season that a team with limited ability could go as far as the final. It’s Portsmouth who have the most attractive tie on paper, although Harry Redknapp will be confident of finishing above at least two teams in Group E.
The BBC report that Pompey are up against Milan, as well as Heerenveen, Braga and Wolfsburg. While the Italian side obviously have a ridiculously strong European pedigree, it’s possible that they won’t be taking the competition deadly seriously, while the other trio are highly beatable.
Meanwhile, Spurs have been drawn with Spartak Moscow (Roman Pavlyuchenko’s former club), Udinese, Dinamo Zagreb and Nijmegen. Plenty of matches for Tottenham to start getting things right on the pitch, and a last-32 place is surely imperative if Juande Ramos is to have a future at the club.
More Steve McClaren-based fun is surely guaranteed after Manchester City were drawn with FC Twente, with Mark Hughes’ men also up against Schalke and Paris St Germain. Finally, Aston Villa have Ajax and Martin Jol’s Hamburg in their group of five, but should go through at the expense of Zilina and Slavia Prague.