Reviewing Arsenal’s Champions League Opponents
It has taken Arsenal seven years to feature in the Champions League yet again, but the Gunner’s last sojourn in Europe saw Mikel Arteta qualify from their Europa League group with consummate ease before a double-legged affair with Sporting CP that saw the club lose on penalties.
The reward for finishing in second place to Manchester City saw the Gunners join Pot 2 of the Champions League draws and the chums on tuxedos did their thing, the Gunners have found themselves in Group B. Without further ado, here’s the review of Arsenal’s opponents in the Champions League.
Current League Position: 20th in La Liga.
Head to Head with Arsenal: Two matches played – One Sevilla win and one Arsenal win.
It’s awkward to think about Sevilla in the Champions League, when you think about the sheer number of Europa League trophies they have won. Their only competitive Champions League clash with Arsenal was in the 2007/08 season, where Sevilla beat Arsenal 3-1 in Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, but goals from Eduardo da Silva, Francesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie handed Arsenal a 3-0 victory at the Emirates.
Sevilla has began their La Liga campaign quite poorly, losing their first three games and are currently languishing at the bottom of the Spanish first division. They have also suffered a loss to an English team this season already, following the penalty shootout heartbreak against Manchester City in the UEFA Super Cup. I will not be surprised if Sevilla sneakily find themselves in third place in this group, only to return to their stomping ground, the Europa League.
Current League Position: Fourth in EreDivisie.
Head to Head with Arsenal: Eight matches played – Three PSV wins, three Arsenal wins and two draws.
Following their second place finish in the EreDivisie last season, PSV Eindhoven had to go through two Champions League qualifying matches to get to the Group Stages. In early August, PSV met Sturm Graz twice and eased past their Austrian opponents with a 7-2 aggregate victory. The last qualifying round saw PSV draw with Glasgow Rangers in the first leg at Ibrox before running out as 5-1 winners at the Philips Stadion.
PSV has some very recent history with Arsenal, taking on the Gunners in the Europa League last season. Arsenal won the first leg when a Granit Xhaka strike was enough to take all three points but PSV got their revenge in Holland when they handed the Gunners their first defeat in the competition that season courtesy of a 2-0 win.
Both sides have had contrasting fortunes in the turn of the new season, and it will be an interesting encounter to say the least.
Current League Position: 15th in Ligue Un.
Head to Head with Arsenal: Four games played – One win for RC Lens, two wins for Arsenal and one draw.
RC Lens had a standout Ligue Un campaign last season, pushing perennial winners, Paris St. Germain all the way to the wire, with PSG edging past Lens with only one point to win the French division. Much of this success was due to the goalscoring exploits of Lois Openda, that scored 19 goals for the club. Ivorian playmaker, Seko Fofana, was also instrumental to the club’s success story last season, contributing with eight goals and five assists along the way.
As you’d expect from players shining in a relatively small club, Fofana made a big money move to Al Nassr while Openda was used to replace Chris Nkunku at RB Leipzig. Openda has already began life well at Leipzig, scoring two goals in his first three games for the German outfit. RC Lens replaced Openda with Montpellier’s Elye Wahi, who scored 19 goals last season, so he will be one to watch out for.
We are looking forward to the Champions League clashes and we know that Arteta has the adequate depth to handle the rigors of the competition alongside the Premier League.
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