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Arsenal's Champions League opponents assessed

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Following Arsenal's passage into the group stage after knocking out Fenerbahce in the qualifying round, the Gunners face a daunting Champions League group consisting of Borussia Dortmund, Marseille and Napoli.

It all sounds very familiar, minus Olympiacos. Two years ago, Arsenal faced both Dortmund and Marseille in their group, but with Napoli instead of Olympiacos they now have a considerably stronger opponent.

Wenger is well aware of the challenge facing them. He said: “It's difficult but exciting as well because it's a group of a very good level.

“We have played Dortmund two years ago. We did well against them and Napoli did well last year.

“Marseille we played two years ago as well. It's a similar group to what we knew two years ago.

“Every game will be of huge importance because it could be down to a point or goal difference in the end.

Ahead of those fixtures against Jurgen Klopp's Champions League runners-up, French outfit Marseille and big-spending Napoli - now managed by on Rafa Benitez - we look at the dangermen and players to quell from that trio.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Borussia Dortmund): Dortmund are filled with quality all over their squad, with the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Marco Reus and Robert Lewandowski household stars.

Arsenal aren't alien to the quality BVB possess, but Mkhitaryan is one player to look out for. Mkhitaryan will take the offensive midfielder role vacated by former fan favourite Mario Gotze, but the two are very different in styles.

While Gotze was more of a technical player with outstanding link-up and vison, Mkhitaryan is more direct. He's a massive goal threat, while displaying explosive pace and dribbling ability.

The man who hails from Armenia scored an incredible 29 goals in just 42 appearances for Shakhtar Donetsk last season before Dortmund parted with £23.6m for the talented 24 year-old and Arsenal will have to be very aware of the threat he poses.

Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille): Marseille are the underdogs of Group F, but will want to prove they are more than just whipping boys.

Competing at the top of Ligue 1 is becoming increasingly difficult with the financial backing of first Paris Saint-Germain and now Monaco. In Valbuena, The Olympians possess a gem however.

The diminutive Frenchman stands at just 5'4, but has really started to come to prominence both for his country and Marseille in his latter years - he is at the ripe old age of 28.

Valbuena primarily plays as an attacking midfielder, but possesses the pace, dribbling and a low centre of gravity to excel on either wing. Arsenal's defence will have to have high levels of concentration with Valbuena drifting into space between the defence and midfield and on the flanks.

Gonzalo Higuian (Napoli): Napoli's summer outlay exceeded £70m, but the star player to join was Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuian and he's Napoli's dangerman and best player - despite the likes of Gokhan Inler, Marek Hamsik and Pepe Reina at the club.

The Argentine looked set for a move to Group F rivals Arsenal, but with Arsene Wenger setting his sights on controversial Luis Suarez it meant Higuian made the £34.5m switch to Napoli.

Higuian spent six years at Los Blancos where he scored an incredible 107 goals in 190 league. He's not the most well-rounded player, but he is incredibly prolific with his finishing and movement top-level attributes.

Arsenal's centre backs will have to perform well to quell the threat of the 25 year-old.

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Topics:
Borussia Dortmund
UEFA Champions League
Football
Arsenal
Premier League

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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