Arsenal have been drawn into Group D in the 2014/15 Champions League group stages. Not quite a ‘group of death’ but certainly an intriguing draw for Arsene Wenger and his troops to ponder.
Arsenal will take on German giants Borussia Dortmund – one of the toughest teams they could have been drawn against from Pot 2. The sides met at the same stage of the competition last year with the teams beating each other in both rounds, evening matters up. The Gunners will also play Turkish giants Galatasaray and Belgians, Anderlecht.
However, Arsenal will be confidently backed to qualify to the knock-out stage despite some difficult group stage fixtures- no doubt at the expense of Galatasaray and Anderlecht. Wenger’s polished side should easily dismantle the two weaker sides at home, but it’s away from home that will test the Gunners’ bottle.
Although he admitted the draw had been on the ‘tricky’ side, Wenger insisted that qualification to the knock-out stages was more than viable. “It is difficult. We’ve played Dortmund a few times. It was almost like ‘Here we go again’,” said Wenger. “Gala will be interesting and we have just experienced how tough Turkish teams are. I don’t really know much about Anderlecht. But it is feasible.” he finished.
Arsenal secured Champions League football for the season following a two-leg victory over another Turkish side, Besiktas. The Gunners drew 0-0 away in the first-leg, but managed to grind out a 1-0 win at the Emirates, new multi-million attacker Alexis Sanchez proving the hero on a night that tested the character of a well-fancied Arsenal squad this season.
Wenger will look to marquee players like Sanchez to lead him and his team to greater places on the European front this season. The Arsenal boss said: “Alexis had a good game. He was mobile, dangerous and showed great fighting spirit. These are qualities that will be important.”
Arsenal should; and probably will, proceed to the knock-out stages later in the year, but you can take nothing for granted as Wenger embarks on his 17th consecutive Champions League appearance as Arsenal head-coach. Not a bad record at all.
With the draw now completed, how can Arsenal perform in the Champions League group stages? They are the strongest side in the group and should probably win it, but will they live up to this expectation? Let us know in the comments or on twitter @TBRFootball .