It’s that time of year again as this season’s Champions League group stage draw takes place. The draw of Europe’s premier club competition takes place in about 2 hours. Here’s all you need to know about Arsenal and their potential opponents in the group stage ahead of the action in Monaco.
Arsenal will of course be involved, having qualified for Europe’s premier club competition for the NINETEENTH successive season.
The basic things that you should know are:
- The 32 teams are put into four pots, with one team from each pot going into each of the eight groups.
- Pot 1 consists of the holders (Real Madrid) and the winners of the top-seven ranked nations at the end of the 2015/16 season.
- Pots 2-4 are decided by each side’s UEFA club coefficient at the end of last season.
Pot 1: Real Madrid (holders), Barcelona, Leicester City, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain, CSKA Moscow
Pot 2: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, Manchester City, Sevilla, Porto, Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen
Pot 3: Basel, Tottenham Hotspur, Dynamo Kyiv, Lyon, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting, Club Brugge, Borussia Monchengladbach
Pot 4: Celtic, Monaco, Besiktas, Legia Warsaw, Dinamo Zagreb, Ludogorets Razgrad, Copenhagen, Rostov
Arsenal’s possible group stage opponents
Pot 1: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain, CSKA Moscow
Pot 2: N/A
Pot 3: Dynamo Kiev, Lyon, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Club Bruges, Basel, Borussia Mönchengladbach
Pot 4: Monaco, Besiktas, Legia Warsaw, Ludogorets, Celtic, Rostov, Copenhagen, Dinamo Zagreb
After the new rules came in from 2015/16, Arsenal are in Pot 2 for a second successive season and face the prospect of again being drawn in the same group as Bayern Munich, though the worst possible Pot 1 team for the Gunners would be Barcelona. They will have to face one of the best teams in Europe in the group stage and in the last 16 too.
Arsenal’s BEST case scenario group could look like this:
Pot 1: Benfica OR CSKA Moscow (Portugal or Russia)
Pot 2: Arsenal (England)
Pot 3: Club Brugge (Belgium)
Pot 4: Ludogorets (Bulgaria)
OR Arsenal’s WORST case scenario group could look like this:
Pot 1: Barcelona (Spain)
Pot 2: Arsenal (England)
Pot 3: Lyon (France) – Beware Alexander Lacazette!
Pot 4: Besiktas (Turkey)
Arsenal will be desperate for some good news from Monaco today. With a generous draw they can hope to win their group, for the first time in years (maybe), be seeded for the last-16 and push beyond. But after so many years of inertia at the Emirates, not many Arsenal fans are expecting anything different. We just have to wait and watch what we have in our plate this time.