Who can Arsenal face in the Champions League round of 16?

  • Arsenal topped Group B to earn seeded berth for round of 16 draw
  • Round of 16 draw takes place on Monday 18 December
  • PSG, Inter, and Napoli among Arsenal's potential opponents

Arsenal could meet Kylian Mbappe's PSG in the next round
Arsenal could meet Kylian Mbappe's PSG in the next round / Alex Grimm/GettyImages
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Arsenal will learn their opponents in the Champions League round of 16 following Monday's draw.

The Gunners' first (and last) group stage in seven years ended rather meekly in Eindhoven, but that was only because Mikel Arteta's side had already topped Group B.

Arsenal were often emphatic at the Emirates as their celebrated their return to the competition in style, and following the conclusion of the group stage on Wednesday night, we know now the seven teams the Gunners could face in the first knockout round.

And no... Bayern Munich are not an option. Rejoice!


1. FC Copenhagen

Mohamed Elyounoussi
FC Copenhagen downed Manchester United in the group stage / Mateusz Slodkowski/GettyImages

FC Copenhagen are the surprise progressers into the round of 16. It's their first Champions League knockout berth in over a decade, and they beat out Manchester United (and Galatasaray) to earn it.

The Danish side are tough to beat at the Parken, but they currently sit third in the Superliga and despite United's woes in Denmark, you'd like to think that Arsenal would be able to bypass Copenhgan with relative comfort.


2. Napoli

Victor Osimhen
Napoli are struggling to defend the scudetto in Serie A / Ivan Romano/GettyImages

Napoli dazzled their way to their first Scudetto in over 30 years last season witb Luciano Spalletti at the helm, and while much of their personnel has remained the same, they look a shadow of their previous majestic iteration.

The Serie A side reached the quarter-finals last term before running out of steam, and this Napoli outfit shouldn't be feared. Walter Mazzarri will hope he can rediscover the most potent forms of those crucial to their success last season.

The departure of Kim Min-jae has proved to be a huge blow.


3. Inter

Francesco Acerbi
Last season's finalists would be a very tough draw for the Gunners / Marco Canoniero/GettyImages

Back-to-back draws to round off the group stage meant Real Sociedad pipped last season's finalists to top spot in Group C.

This is the draw Arsenal want to avoid. Inter are such an impressive side - comfortably the best in Italy despite Max Allegri's ability to relentlessly oversee slender victories.

Their personnel may not WOW you, but Simone Inzaghi's system is functioning in perfect harmony. Inter's pieces have coalesced to form a rugged and potent unit capable of beating anyone.


4. Lazio

Maurizio Sarri
Maurizio Sarri's Lazio are enduring a poor domestic campaign / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

From an elite Italian side to a, well, mediocre one. Lazio surprised a few as they finished second in Serie A last season, but Maurizio Sarri's side have struggled domestically this term.

At the time of writing, the Biancocelesti sit tenth in Serie A having lost six of their 15 games.

The exit of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has hit hard, and they're far too reliant on the scoring form of Ciro Immobile. Their Matchday 6 meeting with Atletico Madrid proved their some distance off the very best in Europe.


5. PSG

Kylian Mbappe, Milan Skriniar
PSG finished behind Borussia Dortmund in the 'Group of Death' / Jean Catuffe/GettyImages

The most imposing draw, but PSG aren't a side to be feared.

Nevertheless, I'd argue that Luis Enrique's current side are better built for a deeper run in the competition compared to previous years. They defend with 11 as opposed to eight, and the balance of the side is as good as it's ever been since QSI took over.

A talented but light midfield could be exploited by the elites, although PSG's superstar talent in attack means potential opponents will be keen to avoid them.


6. RB Leipzig

Emil Forsberg
RB Leipzig competed admirably against Man City / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

RB Leipzig are always easy on the eye, with the vigour and dynamism they compete with commendable.

The Bundesliga side have several lovely pieces, including Xavi Simons, Lois Openda, and Dani Olmo. They also gave Man City a scare at the Etihad before the Cityzens started playing properly in the second half. However, this isn't a side built for a deep European run.


7. Porto

FBL-POR-LIGA-PORTO-VIZELA
Porto are wily Champions League regulars / MIGUEL RIOPA/GettyImages

The Champions League veterans are often the beneficiaries of Pot 1 status which means ventures in the knockout rounds are frequent.

Chelsea and Liverpool have both had recent success against the Portuguese side in the knockouts, but this Porto side could prove tricky opposition in the round of 16.

While Arsenal would be expected to win the two-legged affair, Sergio Conceição's diligent outfit are more than capable of frustrating the Gunners.