Who could Arsenal face in the Champions League Round of 16?

Gunners almost certain to finish as runners-up in Group D

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The Independent Football

Arsenal look destined to finish second in their group for what will be the sixth time in the last 11 years.

Over the last 10 seasons the Gunners have escaped the group phase on every occasion but then fallen in 60 per cent of their Round of 16 fixtures. That they are likely to finish behind Borussia Dortmund and face a group winner in the next phase makes it unlikely that is a statistic that is going to improve.

The draw with Anderlecht last night, which came in embarrassing fashion considering the Gunners led by three goals with 30 minutes to play, takes the group out of their hands. A draw in either of their last two matches will see them qualify in second place whilst topping the group is not mathematically impossible, but is incredibly unlikely. Had they won last night winning the group would have been in their control.

 

With the group winners playing the teams that finish second, Arsenal cannot be drawn against a fellow Premier League side in the next round and can't face Borussia Dortmund either due to them sharing a group. Yet that still leaves some incredibly difficult opponents.

With the group phase at the midway stage, many groups are taking shape with numerous winners all-but nailed on. Among the eight groups, the likely winners are Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Paris St Germain/Barcelona, Chelsea and FC Porto.

That means Arsenal could face Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich, Paris St Germain/Barcelona or FC Porto.

The three Spanish sides from among that collection would be strong favourites if they were drawn against the Gunners, as would German champions Bayern Munich and PSG if they manage to beat Barcelona to top spot in Group F.

Having seen his side throw away such a great opportunity in the game against Anderlecht, Arsenal must hope that the draw for the knock-out phase brings them some luck with either Bayer Leverkusen, who are currently fifth in the Bundesliga, or FC Porto appearing the weakest sides among such strong contenders.

Worst case scenario: Real Madrid

Best case scenario: FC Porto

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