It’s like they’ve never been away.
Arsenal’s journey back into the Champions League was certainly a rollercoaster, but the efficiency at which they manoeuvred through Group B suggests they’re ready to compete with Europe’s elite once more.
Tougher tests than PSV Eindhoven, Lens and Sevilla of course await in UEFA’s premier club competition, but Mikel Arteta’s side nevertheless seem ready for a deep run.
After winning their group with a game to spare, here’s a rundown of who they could face in the round of 16.
As one of eight group winners, Arsenal will face one of the runners-up in the round of 16.
However, the Gunners cannot be paired against a fellow Premier League club until the quarter-final stage, nor can they face a fellow Group B opponent.
While Manchester City have topped their group, Arsenal would not face either Newcastle or Manchester United were they to qualify for the last 16 as runners-up in their respective groups.
PSV need just a point against what should be a heavily rotated Arsenal side on Matchday 6 to join the Gunners in the knockout stages.
Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have each progressed as group winners.
Bayern Munich are out of the picture for Arsenal. They’d won Group A after Matchday 4.
However, second spot is still well up for grabs between the last three teams. One of those is Man Utd, whom the Gunners can’t face, while FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray are the other two.
The Danish and Turkish giants meet in Copenhagen on Matchday 6 with the winner progressing into the last 16. A draw will complicate matters and give United a route into the knockouts should they beat Bayern at Old Trafford.
Real Madrid are safely through to the round of 16 following a perfect group stage so far and it looks as if Napoli will advance alongside the Spanish behemoths.
Napoli take on Braga at home on Matchday 6 needing just a point to qualify for the round of 16 in second. However, if Braga win in Naples by two or more goals, they will advance at the Serie A side’s expense thanks to a superior head-to-head record.
The loser of Inter’s clash with Real Sociedad will finish the group as runners-up.
Inter snatched a point in San Sebastian on Matchday 1, but they need more than a draw in the reverse fixture. Both sides are currently locked at the top of Group D with 11 points, but Real Sociedad’s superior goal difference means that if the two sides draw again, the Spanish side will win the group.
Arsenal would certainly prefer a knockout tie against the Champions League novices.
It’s a similar story in Group E as the two qualified sides meet in the Spanish capital.
Group leaders Atletico Madrid hold a one-point advantage over Lazio heading into their head-to-head duel at the Wanda, meaning the Italians must win on Matchday 6 to qualify as group victors.
As it stands, Lazio are the more likely possibility for Arsenal, but Atletico remain an option.
The ‘Group of Death’ has certainly delivered and it’s still all to play for across the group as we head into the final matchday.
Arsenal cannot, of course, face Newcastle in the round of 16, but there are still avenues for the Gunners to face Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain or Milan in the first knockout round.
Victory for PSG in Dortmund would consign the Germans to second spot, but if Milan beat Newcastle and PSG lose, the 2021/22 Serie A champions will steal runners-up status. Draws all round will see PSG remain in second.
This one’s pretty simple. Man City secured their place in the round of 16 as Group G winners after they came from behind to beat RB Leipzig 3-2 on Matchday 5.
Leipzig, meanwhile, will finish in second as they’re five points ahead of Young Boys in third.
Barcelona have all but assured themselves of topping Group H, with the showdown between Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk in Portugal deciding who joins them in the last 16.
Porto’s victory in the reverse fixture means they currently hold the cards and Shakhtar must win away from home to progress at the Portuguese side’s expense. A draw is enough for Porto.
All Arsenal’s potential opponents in the last 16