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UEFA Champions League: Arsenal's Potential Opponents

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterDecember 19, 2012

UEFA Champions League: Arsenal's Potential Opponents

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    Arsenal have endured an inconsistent season so far with manager Arsene Wenger coming under serious pressure after a run of poor results.

    But the Champions League last-16 draw tomorrow comes after a fine 5-2 win at Reading in the English Premier League on Monday night.

    Now supporters are hoping that the Gunners have turned around their fortunes, but some big names wait in tomorrow’s draw.

Paris Saint-Germain

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    Paris Saint-Germain will be formidable opponents for any side in the Champions League after winning five of their six Group A matches, scoring 14 goal in the process.

    Spearheaded by Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and managed by two-time Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti, the French club’s ambitions are being matched by financial muscle from owners Qatar Investment Authority.

    Arsenal have played PSG just once before when they beat the Ligue 1 club on their way to winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994.

Malaga

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    Malaga are the surprise package of the Champions League this season, remaining unbeaten to top Group C ahead of AC Milan.

    Coach Manuel Pellegrini has been working under tremendous financial constraints, losing star players such as Santi Cazorla (to Arsenal) and Jose Rondon (to Rubin Kazan), but his decision to bring through youngsters such as Francisco Portillo, Joaquin and Eliseu is paying rich dividends.

    Arsenal have never played Malaga in European competition before but Cazorla can provide vital information from his time at La Liga club.

Borussia Dortmund

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    Borussia Dortmund bounced back from the disappointment of finishing bottom of their group last season by powering to the summit of Group D ahead of Real Madrid and Manchester City this term.

    The Bundesliga club have shown impressive form in the Champions League with young players such as Marco Reus and Julian Schieber making their mark.

    Arsenal have played four Champions League games against Dortmund, winning twice, losing once and drawing the other group game.

Juventus

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    Juventus have been absent from the Champions League group stages for three years but returned in style when their last-day win at Shakhtar Donetsk saw them top Group E and knock holders Chelsea into the Europa League.

    Veteran Andrea Pirlo is still pulling the strings in midfield alongside Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio, while Fabio Quagliarella and Sebastian Giovinco have struck five goals between them in the group stages.

    Arsenal have beaten Juventus in all three ties they have contested, but the Gunners have also gone on to reach two European finals after facing the Turin club.

Bayern Munich

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    Bayern Munich shrugged off the heartbreak of losing last season’s Champions League final to Chelsea on home soil by comfortably winning Group F.

    France international Franck Ribery is still a threat on the left side, and striker Claudio Pizarro scored a hat-trick against Lille in the group stages. Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos and the ever dangerous Bastian Schweinsteiger have all chipped in with strikes through the campaign.

    Arsenal have played Bayern twice in the Champions League but have lost both ties.

Barcelona

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    Barcelona have been rocked by the news of coach Tito Vilanova’s ill health and will be more determined to win the trophy for the man who succeeded Pep Guardiola in the summer.

    Lionel Messi remains the star man for Barcelona, but with a squad which includes former Gunners Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song, David Villa, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, there is no shortage of threat.

    Arsenal have beaten Barcelona only once, but even that wasn’t enough to win their 2010-2011 tie. They were also defeated by the Nou Camp side in the 2006 Champions League final.

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