Group F: Arsenal
Did you know?
Arsenal have a 100% record in five play-offs
How They Qualified:
Premier League's fourth place
Story So Far
Having finished fourth in the Premier League on the final day of a tense last season, Arsenal comfortably beat Fenerbahce 5-0 on aggregate in the play-offs to secure an incredible 16th successive season in the Champions League group stage. It is a fine record and includes a heartbreaking defeat by Barcelona in the final in Paris in 2006. But manager Arsene Wenger will want to improve on a three-year run of being eliminated at the last 16 stage.
Can They Be Confident?
Arsenal have been handed a very difficult draw in Group F. Rafa Benitez's Napoli, who have previous Gunners summer transfer target Gonzalo Higuain, are formidable opponents both at home and away. But the major threat is most likely to be last season's Champions League defeated finalists, Borussia Dortmund. Jurgen Klopp's team are favourites to win the group and Arsenal could be left to fight for second place with Napoli and Ligue 1 runners-up Marseille.
The midfielder is already one of Arsenal's on-field leaders and after his return to fitness he needs to find top form.
The £42m summer transfer deadline day signing is a class act and a lot of hope rests on his shoulders.
Has suffered a dip in his reputation and no longer Arsenal's disputed No.1. Will need to prove his ability.
Who will they face?
Last season's runners-up are a huge test for Arsenal and manager Jurgen Klopp is used to the big pressure.
Counter-attacking at speed is a main weapon in the service to the lethal goalscoring of striker Robert Lewandowski.
Losing Mario Gotze to Bayern Munich was a huge setback and dealing with high expectations brings more difficulty.
Rafa Benitez's new-look Italian club have big plans and the presence of Gonzalo Higuain and Marek Hamsik makes them a force.
Under Champions League winner Benitez, they will unquestionably be well organised and the Stadio San Paolo has its own force.
Can Benitez make an immediate impact? If Higuain does not adapt, they may need other options.
Elie Baup's side won their first three Ligue 1 games this season before only suffering defeat by big-spending Monaco.
Aim to play the ball out from the back and pint-zied star man Mathieu Valbuena is a real danger in midfield.
Inconsistency has been a problem over recent years but if they can keep their focus they could be a threat.
Real Madrid 0 Arsenal 1 - February, 2006 - No English side had beaten Real at the Bernabeu before this last 16 first leg but Arsenal overcame a crippling injury list to win thanks to Thierry Henry's stunning goal.
Inter Milan 1 Arsenal 5 - November, 2003 - Henry again inspired Arsenal to a famous victory, this time in the group stages, with two goals while Freddie Ljungberg, Edu and Robert Pires were also on target.
Villarreal 0 Arsenal 0 - April, 2006 - Goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was the Arsenal hero in this semi-final second leg as he memorably saved a last-gasp Juan Roman Riquelme penalty to book a final place.
March 12th, 2014 10:32pm
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- 2012/13: Last 16
- 2011/12: Last 16
- 2010/11: Last 16
- 2009/10: Quarter-finals
- 2008/09: Semi-finals
Facts And Figures
47Of the teams to reach 2012/13's last 16, Arsenal had the fewest shots
16Consecutive number of times Arsenal have reached the group stage
4Goals scored by Lukas Podolski from the same amount of shots last season
0Arsenal have never lost an away tie against a French opponent
14Assists by Mesut Ozil since August 2009 - more than any other player