An in-depth look at who could join Arsenal in Europa after dropping from the Champions League

A couple of years ago UEFA made the Champions League fairer by seeding clubs based on who were actually champions of their country. That avoided the bizarre scenario of the likes of Man City winning their domestic title but then being in pot 4 based on not having the European history of their rivals.

In truth we were one of the sides to benefit the most, always top seeded due to our consistent participation in the competition, even when only the 4th best in the Premiership. With the same established names no longer in the top two pots, in theory it makes the group stages more competitive. This has a domino effect, ensuring decent teams will be relegated to the Europa League, in turn making that more difficult to win. It was that formula that cost us winning silverware last year with Atletico Madrid the marquee name to drop down from Europe’s premiere competition. It shows how far we have fallen that for once I care who finishes where in their CL groups, it could impact our future. Observing from afar, we might be a bit more lucky.

Group A- Club Bruges
We won’t have to worry about Atletico Madrid this time as they are group winners. We should have nothing to fear with the Belgians, just a shame Monaco are guaranteed to finish bottom no matter what they do in their final fixture. The romantic in me wanted to see an Arsenal vs Thierry Henry final.

Group B- Spurs or Inter Milan
Spurs will be hoping that Barcelona rest some of their key players with top spot assured. The Catalans might be smart and see this as a chance to eliminate a possible dangerous opponent that they wouldn’t maybe want to face in the knockout stages. I don’t think inter are great and wouldn’t assume they will cope with the must win pressure against PSV. Do we want the agony of a NLD in Europe?

Group C- Napoli, PSG or Liverpool
Despite currently topping their group Napoli are the favourites to finish
third. You always back Liverpool in a must win European night at Anfield, one of the few stadiums in the world whose atmosphere can impact a result. You wouldn’t want to face any of these, but would the Reds or PSG play their strongest teams if they dropped down?

Group D- Galatasaray or L. Moscow
The Turks start one point ahead the Russians with both facing the group leaders, Porto and Schalke. Both would provide intimidating away days but over two legs are more then beatable. Neither travel very well

Group E- Benfica
Portuguese clubs take this competition seriously. Over two legs we would be favourites but this would be a potential banana skin

Group – F- Lyon,Shakhtar or Hoffenheim
How have Lyon taken 4 points off Man City yet got themselves in a position where they are knocked out if they lose in midweek? It highlights their inconsistency, but if the Frenchmen can beat the champions of England, they could cause us problems. The Ukrainian’s away record is poor in Europe. The German’s need to win at the Etihad and hope Lyon win to carry on their European adventure.

Group G- Viktoria Plzen/CSKA Moscow
Unlike most teams relegated to UEFA’s second tier Plzen will be delighted to be in Europe post Xmas. That was perhaps all they could ask for when the draw was made. They will hope CSKA take nothing at Real Madrid, meaning it won’t matter what they do at home to Roma.

Group H- Valencia
Man United’s late goal against Young Boys means they avoid any pressure being on a tricky trip to Spain. They are currently 13th in La Liga so like us will view this competition as a golden chance to get back into the CL, but you wouldn’t fear them like Atletico.

Dan Smith


  1. Eddie Hoyte says:

    I’d like to face Inter Milan, and a few other teams..I hope our reserves will be able to keep our unbeaten run going this Thursday.

    “He’s 19 but he’s playing like he’s been there forever,” he said.

    “Sometimes I’m watching him like I want to be against him because [he is] p****** me off with the confidence he has.” – Dimitar Babartov
    Lol, get a chair old man… I’m pretty sure you’d gladly accept him into Man UTD’s first eleven

    1. Arunavameister says:

      I think Berba meant it more as a compliment than an insult.!

      1. Declan says:

        He did, he was praising him

  2. gotanidea says:

    Great article. I hope Inter and Napoli would go down to Europa League, instead of Tottenham and Liverpool, because it could be easier to face them

    I want the big English teams’ focus and energy to be drained in the Champions League, because Arsenal still have to meet them in EPL

  3. RSH says:

    Not worried about who we draw in tournaments anymore. We have no influence over who we choose so whoever we get, we get, and we prepare. After years of bad R16 draws I pretty much have the same reaction to every draw at this point.

    1. jon fox says:

      Reality ! How welcome and how unusual in general, though not by this poster, on here. Pointless worrying, in life in general, as also in Cup draws, over something over which we have no control at all nor ever will. Rather like worrying over grass being green or rain being wet. Nothing we can do about those realities either! Intelligent folk worry a lot over injustices such as racism, poverty, human cruelty, over which ALL of us have some degree,even if only a tiny one, of power to change. But they do not worry over things we can never control. What would be the point!

      1. Dan says:

        Wouldn’t say im worried

        1. Kenny Rolfe says:

          Dan, are you really asking the question, “would Liverpool or PSG play their strongest team if they we’re relegated to the Europa Cup”? I can’t believe you asked that Dan, of course they would. Quarter Final or Semi Final of a major competition. Are you Serious? You obviously think their above us in elite terms. I don’t know whether you know this Dan but I remember Liverpool when they we’re a second division side and PSG, formerly, Racing Club de Paris, we taught them how to play the game with regular tours between the thirties and the fifties.

          1. Kenny Rolfe says:

            In actual fact, it was Racing Club de Paris’s highlight of their season to have the honour of playing Arsenal Football Club, at the time the best club side in the world. Show a bit more respect for Arsenal Dan and read some books about football history.

          2. jon fox says:

            How little many youngsters actually KNOW about Arsenal , prior to Wenger. And how sad, yet still they claim to be real fans, yet many know next to nothing of the first 110 years of our glorious history. Perhaps more of us who were there in the Royal Oak back in 1886,(or at least knew about it well before we were even teenagers) should try educating them. Most of them will not have a clue what I am talking about with the Royal Oak and may , or probably won’t bother, googling it. Pitiful ignorance . Glad we are not like that eh KENNY! My late Grandad used to attend the Woolwich Arsenal games, Royal Arsenal too, from the very start and 5 generations of Gooners now in my family. Well said KENNY!!!

          3. Kenny Rolfe says:

            I think that’s incredible Jon, there’s not many Arsenal fans who have relatives from Woolwich Arsenal days. My own Grandad who fought for our country in World War One and passed away in 1962 was a massive Arsenal fan and I can remember him telling me stories about Arsenal from when they first moved to Highbury. Being brought up in Hoxton that’s about as far as my family goes back with my Father, also a big Arsenal fan taking me and my older brother to games from an early age. You’re absolutely right Jon, although I know there are a few of us on these pages and I think we all know who each other are, how most of the youngsters think Arsenal’s history started when we moved to the Emirates and have no idea about how we dominated English football between 1930 and the mid fifties. I wonder how many youngsters have ever heard of “The battle of Highbury” whereupon an England side with seven Arsenal players in attendance who refused to compete in the 1934 World Cup, played the then World Champions Italy in an unofficial World Cup final to see who was the world’s best team. England immediately went into a 3-0 lead before several players sustained serious injuries through some terrible fouls after the game became a battle, and with no substitutes in those days allowed Italy back in the game but still run out winners by 3 goals to two.

  4. Aubamezzette says:

    Chances are we MUST get one of napoli, liverpool or psg …
    Napoli are likely to lose in Anfield n get relegated which i prefer.
    But the problem is Spurs, they are on d same point as Inter but where Inter host PSV at home, spurs travel away to Barcelona.
    Chances are Spurs ll get relegated to Europa league n then we could have a NLD in Europa league.
    So Spurs n Napoli are d likely big opponents we could face.
    Still better than facing AtleticoMadrid

    1. Aubamezzette says:

      PSG should beat Redstar …unless the unusual happens

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