Arsenal secured top-spot in Group A of the Champions League with a 4-1 victory over FC Basel in their final match of the group stage, with the Gunners aided heavily by Ludogorets’ surprise 2-2 draw with Paris Saint-Germain.
It sees Arsenal seeded for the Round of 16 draw for the first-time in five years, giving Arsene Wenger’s side renewed hopes of finally overcoming their struggles and reaching the quarter-finals of the competition.
There’s still the chance of Arsenal facing a European giant in the next round though, with the draw set to take place next Monday, so it’s all to play for. Here, we’ll explain who Arsenal could potentially face.
Losing 2-1 to group winners Napoli on the final matchday, Benfica advanced to the latter stages of the competition after Turkish side Besiktas failed to overcome Dynamo Kiev- remarkably being reduced to nine men and losing 6-0.
Arsenal will fancy their chances against the Portuguese side, who only won two of their group games, both against Dynamo Kiev. Having failed to beat Besiktas or Napoli in either of the meetings, Benfica will be one of the sides that seeded teams will want to face.
Finishing behind Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich are the ones to watch out for and Arsenal have previous with the Bavarian giants. Carlo Ancelotti’s side haven’t been their best since the Italian took charge but their pedigree should still be something to be wary of.
Bayern’s shock defeat to Russian outfit FC Rostov showed their vulnerabilities but they defeated Atletico in their final matchday, also overcoming PSV Eindhoven twice. Arsenal will certainly look to avoid Ancelotti’s men.
Arsenal fans have loved Bayer Leverkusen’s charge in the Champions League this season, as it prevented arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur from advancing from the group stage, but the Gunners should be wary of the threat Leverkusen possess.
Whilst Arsenal will fancy their chances against the Bundesliga side, it would potentially be a tricky tie for Arsene Wenger’s side and would present a potential banana skin for the Gunners- in the same fashion that Monaco did a few years ago.
With their stunning 5-0 victory over Leicester City, Portuguese giants Porto sealed their spot in the next round but their another side that Arsenal will fancy their chances of overcoming. Having said that, the away trip to Portugal would be difficult.
If offered a clash with Porto though, Arsenal would likely take it as they would be favoured to advance through to the quarter-finals.
Another big gun to avoid for Arsenal, Real Madrid conceded top-spot to Borussia Dortmund with a 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu this evening. With their wealth of ability, Arsenal will have a tough task to win should they draw Los Blancos.
A decade ago though, Arsenal did overcome Real Madrid, reaching the final that season, and overcoming the defending champions would be a real statement of intent from Arsene Wenger’s side.
Finishing second behind Juventus in their group, Sevilla may not be the biggest side in the draw but they cannot be taken likely as the Andalusian side have won the Europa League for the past three consecutive seasons.
The loss of Unai Emery has proved not to be detrimental, with Sevilla qualifying the the latter stages having finished third last season, but Arsenal will fancy their chances of overcoming the Spanish outfit.