Atletico Madrid, Fiorentina, Celtic, Anderlecht and Timisoara are the only option of teams Arsene Wenger’s men may be pitted against to overcome and book a berth in the group stages of next season’s Champions League.
The draw for the Champions League’s last round of qualifiers takes place tomorrow and tension is certainly rising.
Due to a change of the competition’s format, Arsenal are the only side from England’s top four to go through this phase. That has become the price of finishing fourth in the Premier League last season and there will be no better motivation to improve than the sight of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool comfortably securing their places in the group stages.
Here is a lowdown on each of the five teams who may have fingers crossed about the possibility of facing Arsenal.
Atletico may visit the Emirates Stadium again in less than a month after booking their place in this phase just like Wenger’s men did. The Spanish contenders finished fourth in La Liga last term and are yet to be beaten in the Champions League.
‘Los colchoneros’ were ousted from their debut season in the competition last year by away goals rule against Porto following a 2-2 draw at home and 0-0 stalemate in Portugal at the round of 16 stage.
Fiorentina have being an ordinary mention among Arsenal fans this summer after Felipe Melo’s recent link to the Gunners while the Italian side continue to pursue Emmanuel Eboue.
The ‘Viola’ are here through a fourth-place finish in the Serie A and were involved in the competition last term.
Arsenal’s British neighbors secured another participation in Europe’s elite competition despite giving up their Scottish league crown as runners-up to Rangers last season.
The Celts were involved last year, but fell short to Aalborg, Villarreal and Manchester United in their group’s rankings.
Anderlecht shared the Belgian Premier League title with Standard Liege whom they finished level on points with despite losing the championship playoff.
Arsenal does have something to do with Anderlecht. It was the “Purple & White” whom the Gunners beat 4-3 on aggregate in the 1970 Fairs Cup Final to claim their main European achievement in history.
RSC have agonizingly been denied a berth in this competition at the final stage of qualifiers in the past two seasons.
Timisoara are perhaps the main unknown quantity among Arsenal’s potential opponents.
The Romanians are here courtesy of draws home and away against Shakhtar Donetsk in the previous round which saw them advance on away goals rule. The ‘White-Violets’ were rewarded this chance after finishing second in the Romanian Liga 1 last season.
So there you have it.
Arsenal will be learning their fate tomorrow – whether it being fear of an embarrassing failure to qualify if drawn against a formidable side or relief over being handed an easy pass, will be known by 12 pm (British time) on Friday.
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