Arsenal face a daunting task after being drawn alongside last season's runners-up Borussia Dortmund, Rafael Benitez's Napoli and Marseille.
The Gunners, who qualified after completing a comprehensive play-off win over Fenerbahce this week, were placed in the tough-looking Group F at UEFA's draw in Monaco.
City, who were in pot three have, been paired with the defending champions Bayern Munich but will be relieved to have also been drawn with CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen with trickier looking options on the board.
City will have unhappy memories of Bayern though who were in their group two seasons ago. The match in Munich was one of the more controversial of Roberto Mancini's reign as Carlos Tevez refused to come on as a substitute in a 2-0 defeat but both men have since left the club.
The draw was kinder to Manchester United and Chelsea though. David Moyes' Champions League bow with Manchester United will come against Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen and Real Sociedad in Group A.
Chelsea face two of the sides they conquered en route to last year's Europa League success in Basle and Steaua Bucharest, as well as Schalke, in Group E.
Celtic, who famously beat Barcelona last season, will face the Catalan giants again along with two other former winners in Group H in AC Milan and Ajax.
Also at the draw ceremony Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery won UEFA's Best Player in Europe award for 2012/13, ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Frenchman was rewarded for an exceptional campaign in which he played a leading role as Bayern claimed a treble of Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League.
GROUP A: Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad
GROUP B: Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, FC Copenhagen
GROUP C: Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain, Olympiacos, Anderlecht
GROUP D: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, Viktoria Plzen
GROUP E: Chelsea, Schalke, FC Basel, Steaua Bucharest
GROUP F: Arsenal, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli
GROUP G: Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit Saint Petersburg, Austria Vienna
GROUP H: Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax, Celtic