Arsenal potential Champions League quarter-final opponents - ranked

  • Arsenal beat FC Porto to progress into Champions League quarter-finals
  • Gunners in the last eight for first time since 2010
  • Strong contenders remain in the competition
Arsenal are likely to draw a behemoth in the Champions League quarter-finals
Arsenal are likely to draw a behemoth in the Champions League quarter-finals / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages

For the first time in 14 years, Arsenal are in the hat for the Champions League quarter-finals.

The Gunners certainly made a fist of it, and FC Porto were equally deserving of a place in the last eight given their impressive mastery of the dark arts during a 210-minute slogfest.

A pair of David Raya saves in the shootout made sure of Arsenal's progression, and a blockbuster tie in the quarter-finals awaits. CSKA Moscow, Bordeaux, and Lyon were among the Gunners' potential opponents the last time they progressed this far, with Arsene Wenger's men instead being pitted against Pep Guardiola's Barcelona, the holders.

Arteta will, of course, be favouring an 'easier' tie when the draw's made on Friday, but a lack of upsets in the round of 16 means Arsenal are likely to draw a giant.

Here's how we rank the Gunners' potential opponents from who they'd most like to face to least.

7. Borussia Dortmund

Arsenal will fancy themselves against Borussia Dortmund / INA FASSBENDER/GettyImages

Arsenal shouldn't fear any of their quarter-final opponents, but there's only one I'd be very confident of them bypassing.

For me, Borussia Dortmund are quite comfortably the best draw for the Gunners.

Edin Terzic's side have exceeded expectations in Europe, winning the 'Group of Death' before sneaking past PSV in the round of 16. Jadon Sancho's return to form certainly gives them an edge, but I don't think they're a team capable of containing Arteta's men and limiting them as Porto did.

They're fearless on the road, sure, but Signal Iduna Park is not the fortress it once was when Jurgen Klopp was marauding the touchline.

6. Barcelona

FC Barcelona v SSC Napoli: Round of 16 Second Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
La Masia continue to inspire Barcelona / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

There's a considerable jump in difficulty, with Barcelona coming in next.

Barca broke Gooner hearts in back-to-back seasons between 2009 and 2011, but the Catalonians superiority was distinct back then. Now, the gulf is minute. Arsenal would probably head into the tie as favourites given their impressive domestic form.

Xavi's side are improving once more after a volatile mid-season, with the manager's announcement regarding his future perhaps liberating his squad.

Barca are sterner in defence with Marc-Andre ter Stegen returning and 17-year-old Pau Cubarsi emerging, and they've got nous across the board. Xavi will also hope to have midfield stars Pedri and Frenkie de Jong back fit for the quarter-finals.

5. Paris Saint-Germain

Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe has one more shot at Champions League glory with PSG / Jean Catuffe/GettyImages

This is not just Kylian Mbappe FC.

While Mbappe remains PSG's final third killer and talisman, Luis Enrique is trying to steer his side away from an over-reliance on the French superstar. Their star-driven pursuit towards Champions League glory ended without reward, and drifting away from such an approach makes a deeper run more likely.

Enrique's side may not dazzle, but they're growing in cohesion by the game. This is a PSG team that works for one another, and there's talent across the board. Bradley Barcola and Warren Zaire-Emery are stars in the making.

However, the French side have a history of crumbling on the continental stage - as Enrique would know - and have a pretty wretched away record in this competition.

4. Bayern Munich

Harry Kane
Harry Kane's brace helped Bayern into the last eight / Boris Streubel/GettyImages

Many an Arsenal supporter still has recurring nightmares from the beatings the Gunners were subject to by Bayern during their persistent round of 16 exits.

The Germans were so often a class above Wenger's side, and their previous duel saw Bayern prevail 10-2 on aggregate. Ruthless.

That's history, however. Right now, Arsenal have little to fear. While they've shown signs of life in recent outings, Thomas Tuchel's team have struggled for consistency this term with the collective mastery that's typified the great Bayern teams of yesteryear often absent from the current iteration.

The club also won't have any fans travelling for the away leg of their quarter-final tie.

However, like Barca, Bayern have improved since Tuchel announced he'll be stepping down at the season's conclusion. Their attacking talent is majestic, with Harry Kane hyperaware of what it's like to find the back of the net against Arsenal.

3. Atletico Madrid

Memphis Depay
Arsenal won't fancy a trip to the Wanda / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

If you thought Porto's cynicism was bad...

The La Liga table would suggest this Atletico Madrid team is one Arsenal should be pleading for in the quarter-finals. In truth, they've been utterly indifferent domestically in 2024.

However, there's not a team that evolves into a completely alternate version of itself under the bright European lights than Diego Simeone's Atleti. They thrive in the knockout stages.

Simeone's men have previously taken down Guardiola's Bayern and Klopp's Liverpool - two all-conquering sides - against the odds, and they gave Man City an almighty scare last season.

They're utterly imperious at the Wanda, losing just once across all competitions this season, and their performance in the second leg against a superb Inter side sent a statement out to the rest of Europe. No one wants to take on Atleti over two legs.

2. Real Madrid

Jude Bellingham, Nacho Fernandez, Vinicius Jr
Dripping with heritage / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

This is a Real Madrid team with obvious tactical flaws, and they were far from impressive in their round of 16 tie against RB Leipzig.

However, you don't bet against heritage.

Madrid are the most successful team in Champions League history for a reason. There's a knowhow that simply can't be taught. It's DNA.

With laissez-faire master Carlo Ancelotti leading a bunch of superstars in the Spanish capital, Madrid are certainly the biggest threat to City's crown. A contrast in experience would count against Arsenal in a two-legged affair.

1. Manchester City

Gabriel Martinelli
Arsenal ended their Man City hoodoo in October / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

Guardiola's City have been regarded as Europe's premier outfit for the best part of six years, yet they've only won the Champions League once.

The Cityzens were forced to learn the hard way as they toiled against more seasoned opponents in their pursuit of continental glory, eventually triumphing over Inter in Istanbul last season.

That victory should ease the pressure on Guardiola's men as they attempt to regain their crown. Arsenal are fighting against City for the Premier League title this seaosn, and despite a few vulnerabilites manifesting in their armour this term, the Sky Blues are the team nobody wants to face in the quarter-finals.

A two-legged affair between master and apprentice would be laden with tension, and Arteta's insight into Pep could give Arsenal a sniff. However, City are seasoned operators at the highest level now, and this experience would count for plenty.