Groups have been confirmed for next season’s “Youth Champions League”. As reported back in April, after careful deliberation, Arsenal agreed to sign up to the NextGen series, which pits the youth teams of the top clubs in Europe against each other in a Champions League style tournament. Designed not only to showcase the best talent in Europe (NextGen is televised), it also will give youngsters a more professional experience, and introduce them to experience of match preparation against European teams, making long trips to away games, and coming up against a range of different playing styles and tactics.
The draw is as follows:
Group 1: Barcelona, Tottenham, Anderlecht, Wolfsburg
Group 2: Manchester City, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Fenerbahce
Group 3: Chelsea, Ajax, CSKA Moscow, Molde
Group 4: Arsenal, Athletic Bilbao, Olympique Marseille, Olympiacos
Group 5: Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Inter, Rosenborg
Group 6: Sporting, Celtic, Aston Villa, PSV Eindhoven
Arsenal’s group is a fairly tough one, with Athletic and Anderlecht both ranking amongst the best academies in their respective countries. And Marseille aren’t too shabby either. It should be a great test for the youngsters, and give coaches managers a chance to see different aspects of their game.
Last year’s 16-team edition was won by Inter Milan, who beat Ajax in the final. With the exception of FC Basel, all the other teams from last season have signed up again, and are joined by Arsenal, Athletic, Dortmund, Juventus, Chelsea, CSKA Moscow, PSG, Anderlecht and Olympiacos.