Thoughts on the Champions League Round of 16 Draws
In Arsene Wenger’s tenure as Arsenal manager, the UEFA Champions League continues to elude him as the Gunners always come up short when they face some opponents in the knockout phase. The table below shows Arsenal’s progress in the knockout phases since Arsene Wenger joined the club in the 1995/96 season.
|SEASON||ROUND of 16||QUARTERFINALS||SEMIFINALS||FINALS|
|2003/04||Celta Vigo||Chelsea (L)|
|2004/05||Bayern Munich (L)|
|2005/06||Real Madrid||Juventus||Villarreal||Barcelona (L)|
|2006/07||PSV Eindhoven (L)|
|2007/08||AC Milan||Liverpool (L)|
|2008/09||AS Roma||Villarreal||Manchester United (L)|
|2009/10||FC Porto||Barcelona (L)|
|2011/12||AC Milan (L)|
|2012/13||Bayern Munich (L)|
|2013/14||Bayern Munich (L)|
|2014/15||AS Monaco (L)|
*: Arsenal crashed out of Group E, behind Dynamo Kiev and RC Lens
**: Arsenal crashed out of Group B, behind Barcelona and Fiorentina
***: Arsenal qualified from the first stage ahead of Mallorca and Schalke 04, but failed to qualify from the second group stage, falling behind Bayer Leverkusen and Deportivo de la Coruna
****:Arsenal qualified from the first stage ahead of Borussia Dortmund, AJ Auxerre and PSV Eindhoven, but failed to qualify from the second group stage, falling behind Bayer Valencia and Ajax
From the table above, it’s evident that Arsenal hasn’t still become a force to be reckoned with in Europe, not necessarily about the club’s pedigree but in most cases, it’s simply down to the quality of the opposition. For the past five seasons, the Gunners have gone beyond the Round of 16 hurdle and with UEFA pairing them with Barcelona again, Arsene Wenger’s men face a daunting task ahead of them, as they are set to face the best team in Europe.
A lot can happen between now and February but the Gunners would be disappointed with the fact that Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla will not be available for selection. I have seen the Gunners play in some European nights and even Barcelona has been swept aside by the Gunners at the Emirates, even though it was a different story entirely in the second leg at Nou Camp.
The other draws can be seen here.
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