Potential Champions League group stage opponents for Arsenal

By on August 29, 2023

Mikel Arteta Arsenal

After narrowly missing out on qualifying for the Champions League last campaign, Arsenal have managed to secure their place in this competition this term by finishing second in the Premier League last season.

So, after remaining absent for almost six years, the Gunners are finally set to play in Europe’s elite club competition. Arsenal fans are eagerly awaiting Thursday’s draw for the group stages so they can buy their Champions League tickets and look forward to watching their team playing against the best in Europe once again.

Having endured disappointing times over the last few years, Arsenal have enjoyed a resurgence under Mikel Arteta’s guidance in recent times.

They surprisingly challenged Manchester City for the Premier League title last term and were even considered to be the favourite to win it for a long time. But, they eventually failed to continue their momentum during the business end and in the end, the Citizens became the English champions.

Summer business

Players lost in form and injury issues were thought to be the main problem behind Arsenal’s downfall last term so Arsenal have decided to spend big in this transfer window and have purchased Kai Havertz, Declan Rice, Jurrien Timber and David Raya by spending more than £200m.

William Saliba was the mainstay of Arsenal’s excellent performance last term, but following his injury absence, Arsenal struggled to perform at their best. So, Mikel Arteta has decided to sign Timber to bolster the backline.

But, following the Dutchman’s serious knee issue, Arsenal are now reportedly planning to sign a new defender to replace the former Ajax star. Several players have been mentioned as potential targets for Arsenal with Perr Schuurs, Marc Guehi and Victor Nelsson being among them.

So, it is going to be interesting to see who Arsenal opt to sign to reinforce their defence before Friday’s transfer deadline.

On the other hand, Thomas Partey was an integral part of Mikel Arteta’s system last term, but Arsenal’s promising season was derailed following the African’s injury issues and loss in form.

So, the North London club have decided to spend big and signed Rice from West Ham United in a £105m deal to reinforce the engine room. The Englishman has looked impressive during the first few games of this season and the Emirates faithful will be hoping that he will be able to continue his performances throughout the season.

Meanwhile, there are question marks as to why Arsenal decided to spend big money on Havertz, especially after his underwhelming spell at Chelsea over the last few years.

The German hasn’t looked promising during the first three games of this term and it is going to be interesting to see whether he can turn his fortune around in the coming time.

Arteta has surprisingly decided to sign Raya after selling Matt Turner to Nottingham Forest. So, it is going to be interesting to see what the Spaniard’s role will be for Arsenal. Aaron Ramsdale started all three Premier League games this season so Raya is expected to be used during the cup competitions.

After strengthening the squad this summer, Arsenal are expected to challenge on all fronts this season and the North Londoners will be hoping that Arteta’s side will be able to provide their worth in the Champions League.

Team distribution in the Champions League draw

Arsenal have been assigned in the second pot and along with them, Manchester United are also in the same pot. As defending champions, Manchester City are allotted in the first pot, while Newcastle United will be in pot 4.

Alongside the Citizens, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain, Feyenoord and SL Benfica have been placed in the first pot, while Sevilla are also in this pot having won the Europa League last term.

Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, RB Leipzig and FC Porto are in the second pot, while Real Sociedad, Celtic, Salzburg, AC Milan, Lazio, Shakhtar Donetsk and Red Star Belgrade are in the third pot.

RC Lens and Union Berlin are in the fourth pot, while other vacant positions are set to be filled following the conclusion of the qualifying rounds. The qualifying rounds will end this Wednesday and the group stage draw is set to take place the following day.

PSV Eindhoven are the strongest teams competing in the qualifying rounds and Rakow Czestochowa are seemingly the weakest team – who have the possibility of booking their place in the group stage draw.

Possible Champions League group stage draw for Arsenal

Teams from the same league can’t be playing in the same group so Arsenal won’t be competing against Man City, Man Utd and the Magpies at least before the knockout rounds should all four of the teams get past the group stage.

So, Arsenal can be drawn against Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli, Sevilla, Feyenoord and SL Benfica from the first pot. The Gunners will certainly be hoping to avoid playing versus strong teams in the group stage so they would be content to be drawn with the Dutch champions or Sevilla in the same group.

AC Milan and Lazio are the two toughest opponents in the third pot, though the Eagles have started the new season miserably, losing the first two games in Serie A. On the other hand, Red Star Belgrade are seemingly the weakest team in this pot. So, Arsenal would be happy to be in the same group along with the Serbian champions.

Union Berlin and Lens are the two clubs that have so far been assigned in the fourth pot and they are the strongest two teams in this pot. So, Arsenal will be looking not to be drawn against them and would be happy to be in the same group along with Rakow Czestochowa should they manage to secure their place in this competition through the qualifying rounds.

The dream draw for Arsenal would be playing against Feyenoord, Red Star Belgrade and Rakow Czestochowa in the group stage and the nightmare draw would be competing against Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Union Berlin.

Teams like to be in an easier group so that they can qualify for the knockout stage easily, But, through that pathway more often than not, they are likely to get a tough run during the knockout stage.

However, if teams can fight their way out of a tough group and secure their place in the knockout stage then they are likely to get an easier run in the knockout stage as Inter Milan had last term.

In order to become the champion of Europe’s elite club competition, Arsenal will have to overcome the challenges of the best teams from this continent. So, there is no point in hoping for an easier draw as they will have to face off against tough teams at some stage.