Champions League: Man City and Chelsea wins were game-changing

Wilfried Bony scored the fourth as Man City defeated Borussia Monchengladbach 4-2
Wilfried Bony scored the fourth as Man City defeated Borussia Monchengladbach 4-2

How much of a difference does finishing first or second in a Champions League group make? About 67% judging by these statistics...

"None of the last six English sides to progress as runners-up have made it through the round-of-16, with Arsenal punished in spring for the sins of the group stage in 2010/11, 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 and Man City becoming familiar with the same pattern in 2013/14 and 2014/15."

Opinion appears to be divided on how advantageous winning their Champions League groups will prove to Manchester City and Chelsea.

Most recognise the home second leg and the prospect of less testing opposition as a significant boost, but others note that they could still draw Paris St-Germain and Juventus respectively and that they are going to have to face the top teams to lift the trophy, so it shouldn't matter when they do.

The way to definitively determine which view is more valid is via the medium of statistics and these thoroughly support the idea that first place is a potential game-changer for the blue-clad English pair.

Over the past six seasons, 12 of the 24 Premier League participations in the Champions League have seen the representative win their group, and eight of those (67%) have gone on to secure a spot in the quarter-finals.

By contrast, none of the six sides to progress as runners-up have made it through the round-of-16, with Arsenal punished in spring for the sins of the group stage in 2010/11, 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 and Man City becoming familiar with the same pattern in 2013/14 and 2014/15.

Chelsea have profited from pre-Christmas success in three of their previous four knockout-phase adventures, not just reaching the last eight but twice using it as a springboard to venture further in that period, winning the competition in 2011/12 and getting to the semi-finals in 2013/14.

Man City's Group D triumph promises to be even more impactful as it ensures that for the first time in their Champions League existence, they will be in the most favourable seeding position.

Their five group-stage attempts have been compromised by being in pot two three times and pot three twice, almost always receiving brutal draws, while their two prior round-of-16 appearances arrived as runners-up, and on both occasions they suffered the misfortune of drawing Barcelona.

If you fancy one of the clubs to fully exploit their opportunity, the Citizens are 17.016/1 fifth favourites to go the distance, with Chelsea next in line at 19.5.

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