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 Posted by Andrew Mangan
Aug 28, 2014

Arsenal to meet old friends in UCL

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop predicts the sleepers and biggest disappointments for this year's group stage.

Arsenal's Champions League draw sees them face some familiar European foes, but manager Arsene Wenger will be confident his team can progress to the knockout stages.

- Report: Gunners, BVB meet again in UCL
- Brewin: Arsenal, Dortmund Group D favourites
- Report: Klopp eager to meet Wenger again

Drawing Borussia Dortmund is somewhat underwhelming. Not because of the quality of the German side, or the challenge they present, but simply because this is the third season in the last four that the two teams have been thrown together by UEFA's well-mixed balls.

Last year the Gunners won away thanks to Aaron Ramsey but were beaten at the Emirates. In the 2011-12, they won at home thanks to two Robin van Persie goals and drew at Signal Iduna Park; while back in 2002-03, a 2-0 home win was followed by a 2-1 loss in which Tomas Rosicky scored a penalty shot winner for the Bundesliga side.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will once again match wits with Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp in the Champions League.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will once again match wits with Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp in the Champions League.

Arsenal have only faced Galatasaray once in European competition, and that was the 2000 UEFA Cup Final which they lost on a penalty shootout (the less said about that, the better). And their history with Anderlecht goes back even further when their 1970 Fairs Cup Final win came over two legs against the Belgian side.

While Dortmund and Arsenal will obviously be favourites for the top two positions, Wenger will know just how important it is to top the group and, hopefully, end up with an easier draw in the first knockout round. They've been careless in recent seasons and paid the price, so the Arsenal manager will be mindful of that.

A trip to Turkey is never easy, although it does throw up a reunion with an old teammate, Emmanuel Eboue, and as Anderlecht come into the competition as Belgian champions, the Wenger won't be underestimating their threat.

Still, it's a long way from the most difficult draw that they could have had, and for the 17th successive season, they'll have a tilt at Europe's most prestigious prize.

Andrew Mangan

Andrew Mangan is owner and writer of the award-winning arseblog.com and has blogged about Arsenal every day since 2002. He likes late winners, clean sheets, bullet headers and John Terry falling over. You can follow him on Twitter @arseblog.

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