Football

Arsenal: Champions League Group F preview

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Wenger's men will have to work hard if they want to progress. (©GettyImages)
Wenger's men will have to work hard if they want to progress. (©GettyImages).

On Thursday afternoon, the draw for the group stages of the Champions League was made.

Arsenal, who beat Turkish side Fenerbahce in a play-off for the group stages, were drawn in what many believe to be the “group of death” alongside Marseille, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli.

Here we have a look at what the Gunners will be expecting from their three opponents:

Marseille

Last year the French giants failed to impress in Europe when they were knocked out at the group stages of the Europa League, so the side will be looking to make up for that in the Champions League this year.

This is manager Elie Baup’s first season in charge of a Champions League team, so entering it into this group is a harsh initiation, but if he can pull off an upset and guide his men out of the group it will surely be a mean feat.

He has his side sitting on top of the Ligue 1 in France at the moment, so he will want to make sure his men stay there so that they arrive into the start of the Champions League games that they are riding high on form and confidence.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger knows all about French football, so he will be relishing the chance to take his men over to France to pull off a victory in his homeland.

Borussia Dortmund

Jurgen Klopp’s side finished runners up to Bayern Munich domestically and in Europe last season when they finished way behind Bayern in the Bundesliga and when Arjen Robben’s late goal sunk the hearts of the Dortmund faithful at Wembley in the Champions League Final last year.

While they won’t like to say it, Dortmund should look to their rivals Bayern as an inspiration for the way they came back a year after losing the Champions League on penalties to Chelsea in their own back garden and fought their way to victory.

Klopp’s men took care of some of the biggest names in Europe last season when they knocked the likes of Real Madrid and Ajax out on their way to the final.

They may have lost Mario Goetze to Pep Guardiola’s men this summer, but somehow they have managed to keep hold of their star striker Robert Lewandowski. If Arsenal want to progress they will have to strengthen their defence to make sure they can shut Polish hit-man Robert Lewandowski out.

Dortmund have started their domestic campaign off with an immaculate record of three wins in the three, so they will be thinking this could be their year.

Dortmund are a team with something to prove this year, so I'd imagine the German's are the favourites to progress from the group at this point.

Napoli

Over the past few seasons Napoli have re-emerged as one of the powerhouses in Italian football. Last season they finished above both AC Milan and Inter Milan to end up the runners up in the Serie A.

Rafa Benitez has come in as manager off the back of guiding Chelsea to Europa League glory – and having already won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, this man knows what it takes to win in European football.

Napoli may have lost their star man and top scorer last season Edison Cavani to PSG, but Rafa Benitez has used the money appropriately, strengthening the side with Albiol, Callejon and Higuain (an Arsenal target) from Real Madrid, while also bringing in Pepe Reina on loan from former club Liverpool.

Benitez will want to put the memories of his “interim” days behind him and become the successful manager that he once was again, and with Napoli a team on the rise, he has surely landed at the perfect place to do so.

Arsene Wenger will only have to look at the torrid time City had against Napoli two years ago to realise how strong they can be.

Arsenal couldn't really have picked themselves a more difficult group to be in. Wenger still hasn't spent any money in the transfer window, but if he wants his side to progress out of this group he might have to think about emptying his wallet before the transfer window closes next Monday.

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Topics:
UEFA Champions League
Football
Arsenal
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