Arsene Wenger claims that even if Arsenal draw Real Madrid in the next round of the Champions League, the Gunners will still relish the challenge.
On Tuesday night, Arsenal beat FC Basel 4-1, allowing them to finish top of Group A’s table, above PSG who drew 2-2 with Ludogorets.
However, while it’s great to finish first and all, this doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll get an easier ride in the next round.
Two teams who both finished second in their respective groups and could therefore be drawn against us are Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Despite beating group leaders, Atletico Madrid, 1-0 during their last tie, Bayern still finished three points below in second.
Similarly, Real finished two points below Borussia Dortmund after winning just three out of their six games.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s clash against Stoke in the Premier League, Wenger insisted that even if we do draw Real in the next round, we’ll still give the clash everything.
Thoughts on the @ChampionsLeague draw, boss?
🗣 “Even against Real Madrid we have to do the maximum to qualify. We'll relish the challenge." pic.twitter.com/Xh4ugupSdJ
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 8, 2016
Arsenal’s recent history when it comes to the final 16 isn’t exactly fantastic. However, as we always say, hopefully this is the season where we can at least get a little further. Baby steps and all that.
Although the boss claims we’ll approach the match the same as any other, I find that hard to believe. At least from the mental aspect. I’m all for ambition but if we could avoid the bigger teams until later in the campaign, that would be nice.
The final 16 draw is scheduled for 12 December (Monday) at 11am UK time.