In 2011/12, it was Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal. In 2012/13, it was Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax. In 2013/14, it was the gentler trio of Bayern Munich, Viktoria Plzen and CSKA Moscow, suckering them into false hope before landing Bayern, Roma and CSKA Moscow in 2014/15.
Manchester City always get cheated on Champions League draw day and any optimism that the seeding system change whereby eight leading title winners got top billing - opening the possibility of being paired with PSV or Benfica - would help were crushed once the balls were plucked out.
Manuel Pellegrini's side - who will be encouraged by progressing as runners-up in the past two years - were handed Champions League finalists Juventus, Europa League holders Sevilla and emerging force Borussia Monchengladbach, who took four Bundesliga points off Bayern Munich last term.
If those descriptions aren't enough to convince you that the Premier League leaders have been horribly unlucky again, maybe these statistics will. Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga join the Premier League as Europe's elite four leagues, according to UEFA coefficients, and Juventus and Sevilla were both in the top 11 of the pre-draw winner betting, alongside the Citizens.
Surprisingly, Man City haven't moved from their spot as 14.013/1 fifth favourites despite the fiendish Group D line-up, perhaps reflecting increased confidence in their ability to survive such ordeals under their Chilean boss, who led Villarreal to the semi-finals and Malaga to the quarter-finals.
Chelsea's top-seed status resulted in probably the easiest draw of the Premier League quartet, with their Group G union with Porto, Dinamo Kiev and Maccabi Tel Aviv sufficient to see the fourth favourites backed in from 11.5 to 10.519/2.
Man United will also be optimistic of marking their return to the competition after a gap year with a knockout-round appearance given the Group B composition of PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg. Man City might help them further by depriving the German team of Kevin De Bruyne's services. Louis van Gaal's men have darted inwards from 21.0 to 18.017/1.
Arsenal's draw is somewhere in between. Yes, meeting Bayern Munich is far from ideal - though it didn't stop Man City from reaching the last 16 in 2013/14 and 2014/15 - but they have taken many a post-match selfie against Olympiakos before and have positive previous with Dinamo Zagreb too.
Indeed, it is arguably a blessing to get Bayern out of the way nice and early as they will be one less giant that they could be handcuffed to in the round-of-16 once they inevitably finish second. That explains why the Gunners' winner price of 24.023/1 hasn't shifted.
What happened elsewhere? Paris St-Germain, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk and Malmo will link up in Group A, which looks like a lot of fun and will have stung for Celtic fans. As it is, one of the most intriguing subplots will be a homecoming for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is idolised in his hometown. His employers Paris St-Germain have been nudged out from 17.5 to 18.5.
Group C seems to be the stuff of Atletico Madrid fantasy, serving the 2013/14 Spanish champions up clashes with Benfica, Galatasaray and Kazakh debutants FC Astana. They have been the big outright movers, steaming in drastically from 29.0 to 21.020/1.
Holders and 4.1 tournament frontrunners Barcelona won't have it too easy in Group E with Bayer Leverkusen, Roma and BATE Borisov for company, whereas Group H's blend of Zenit St Petersburg, Valencia, Lyon and Gent should furnish a few sides without much or any recent knockout-phase experience with a chance to amend that.
THE FULL DRAW
Maccabi Tel Aviv
Zenit St Petersburg
Latest Champions League 2015/16 Winner Odds
Bayern Munich 5.49/2
Real Madrid 6.611/2
Man City 14.013/1
Paris St-Germain 18.5
Man United 21.020/1
Atletico Madrid 21.020/1