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Arsenal secures Champions League group stage spot, draw set for Thursday

ArsenalCeltic (Reuters)

And then there were 32.

Arsenal and Fiorentina booked two of the final five spots in the UEFA Champions League group stages after winning their playoff series on Wednesday.

Arsenal secured passage with a 3-1 victory against Celtic on Wednesday to win their series, 5-1, on aggregate.

Fiorentina held Sporting Lisbon to a 1-1 tie in Italy to earn a group stage place on away goals.

Here is a rundown of the 32 teams that will take part in Thursday's draw for the UEFA Champions League gorup stage.

UEFA Champions League Draw

(One team per pot is in each group, no two teams from the same country can meet in the group stage.)

Pot 1-Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, AC Milan, Arsenal, FC Sevilla, Bayern Munich

Pot 2– Lyon, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, CSKA Moscow, FC Porto, AZ Alkmaar, Juventus, Rangers

Pot 3– Olympiakos, Marseille, Dynamo Kiev, VfB Stuttgart, Fiorentina, Atletico Madrid, Bordeaux, Besiktas

Pot 4– VfL Wolfsburg, Standard Liege, Maccabi Haifa, FC Zurich, FC Rubin Kazan, Unirea Urziceni, APOEL, Debreceni

What match-ups are you hoping to see in the group stage? Could we see Real Madrid-Manchester United with Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Old Trafford? How about Inter Milan-Barcelona for an Eto'o-Ibrahimovic faceoff? AC Milan-Standard Liege so Oguchi Onyewu can face his former squad? Think teams in Pot 1 and 2 are praying that German champions Wolfsburg don't wind up in their group?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. well I am usually opposed to the threadjack but it was worth it to see Jozy’s goal!

    Re: Champions League I WISH they would drop the stupid rule where 2 teams from the same country can’t play one another. It serves no purpose other than for marketing and such to make sure the richer nations (Germany, England, Spain, France) all have at least one team going deeper into the tournament. (=bigger $$$ on TV etc)

    Oh and NeverFirst, seriously? ‘and then there were…’ is THAT offensive to your delicate sensibilities? Sure as Ives readily admitted it’s not exactly Pulitzer material but WGAS? You come here to talk soccer not advance the English language. If you have a better line please share. If you can’t come up with one, then how about we let Ives use ‘and then there were…’ to his heart’s content, mm’kay?

  2. Wow. Tough crowd. I’ll be sure never to comment on the writing in this blog, even half-seriously! I thought all writing in the public arena was subject to criticism, but I guess blogs are off limits!

  3. Never First – have some tact; it’s understood in forums not to criticize people’s writing, but to focus on content (soccer here). maybe tease a little when it comes to friendly competition. like, i like to tease East Coast teams cuz i’m from Cali. but it’s all in good fun. when u criticize writing, that gets personal.

    for instance, i’ve heard “never first” like a hundred times at the DMV last week. why not change it to “Always Last” ?


  4. Fulham Pete…agreed with most of the sentiment, but please tell me you’re joking with the Stephen Cohen line. Perpetuating lies is on another level.

  5. I thought the Celtic kits were awsome. I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it. I wouldnt wear one, but I do like them.

  6. I’m not Strunk or White, but I don’t think this is exactly a forum for literary criticism.

    I, myself, think that Ives couldn’t give a damn about how people think about his writing style or choice of phrase. I’d also throw in that he probably doesn’t mind at all when people disagree with what he says.

    Not that he needs anyone to defend him…

    It would piss me off, also, if readers were complaining on my blog about my writing style, and the fact that I’d have the wherewithal to defend my OWN opinions on my OWN comment section…that I’m under no obligation to provide.

    Just like Stephen Cohen said…don’t like it? Don’t listen (read)!

  7. It’s probably pretty annoying to keep seeing people who aren’t writers or journalists trying to make their e-wangs bigger by insulting you when you post regular updates at marginal benefit to yourself.

    I mean, this is a blogspace for heaven’s sake… so what if there’s some repetitive phrasing, or a typo here and there, it’s only going to get buried in a day by more posts.

  8. I’m an Arsenal fan. Eduardo dove. I don’t like it. I don’t like it when anyone cheats and this is no different. Now he’ll probably not get a penalty when he deserves one later in the season because the refs will all have had a good look at this and I’ll probably have forgotten about this by then and complain about him not getting the call. Unfortunately it happens and we’re stuck with it.

    That said, the Celtic away kit is equally criminal.

  9. This is painful to watch the Columbus match. They do look better the last 20 minutes or so. I’m hoping they were just in over their heads playing in Mexico for the first time in a long time. I just hope Columbus wins all their home matches. Otherwise, I’ll be forced to admit MLS is as bad as some people say. Columbus really is trying, whereas DC appears to have thrown in the towel again.

  10. Not horrible…Dynamo took a point away witht their ‘B’ team (since people like using alphabet teams so much). Unfortunately they will have to play without Holden against Pachuca (man I’m tired of losing to them).

  11. Wowwww, Eric Brunner, Red Card, with Columbus 2-0 down, and its the 40th minute, mann, if u were gna get a red card, atleast u culda taken out torrado for a good 6 months, made urself useful

  12. The MLS has got to sweeten the pot for the teams that participate in the CONCACAF Chumpions League. Let them blow a little extra cash on players or use players from their development team. What an inglorious night for the MLS.

  13. Wow how quick people call him a cheat, Eduardo’s right leg got caught. He could’ve stayed up but he choose not to. Refs award the decisions and he was right there. A smart goalie would have forced him to the side line and not bit in.

  14. Since MLS can’t find four teams to take the CCL seriously, I wish the USL could have one of their slots. Maybe seeing Charleston or Portland outperform the MLS squads could shame them into action.

    I would seriously love the USL to petition for the fourth USA slot. I think they could make a strong case.

  15. Oh mannnn, Birch just got turned inside out, and DC are down 2-1, Wicks did really bad trying to stop that shot also, I’m watching on Telefutura, and even the announcers were frustrated on how Wicks did close to nothing on stopping that shot, and thennnnnn Theres ANOTHER!!!! 3-1 Toluca, mannnn, i’m loving this

  16. I guess it would be more acceptable to badmouth Bob Bradley or complain about how much the MLS sucks. Those are things that really do matter in life, after all.

    Posted by: Never First | August 26, 2009 at 09:33 PM

    I can definitely agree with you on principle concerning those points. But to be fair, I still think BB has done an “OK” job, all things considered. By no means amazing or the best, but progress is still progress and I will definitely take it. and as much as I do support MLS, I recognize that it still has a long way to go. Take the concacaf champions league for example. What a joke MLS are!

    I guess I was just saying it’s silly to complain about Ives’ choices of words when he does so much to provide me and others with the material I really want to read and know about.

  17. I guess it would be more acceptable to badmouth Bob Bradley or complain about how much the MLS sucks. Those are things that really do matter in life, after all.

  18. You’re annoyed reading my comment, yet you took the time to write a lengthy response lol. I just encourage more creativity and less cliches in writing. Why don’t you do a search of this blog and see how often that phrase has been used as the lead to an article on here? More than a few times. The great thing about blogs is that you can provide feedback to the writer. That’s all I’m doing.

    (SBI-It doesn’t make it any less annoying Never First. I threw up a quick post about the Champions League. Sorry I couldn’t cook up a Pulitzer-worthy lead for you but I was in a hurry and figured people would be far more interested in the information than in a well-crafted lead. I’d encourage you to stick to doing your job and letting me do mine.)

  19. I wish the UEFA site didn’t assume each visitor is familiar with every team in the Champions League. It wouldn’t hurt to put an approximation of each team’s standing in the matchups instead of making me search to find it.

  20. jozy free kick! i like it..

    eto’o vs ibra would be great. i love watching barça and it is goin to be interesting how ibra fits compared to eto’o. plus i hope Gooch gets to play a lot vs. Liege and many other top squads. has he had time with AC yet? he did not look prepared when they were in the US.

  21. lol @Never First and like-minded people who get bent out of shape over nothing at all. Just because you say “I love the blog BUT” doesn’t make what you say after the “but” any better. Kind of annoying to have to get no here and read whiny complaints about trivial things. (And honestly Never First, how many times a day/week/month do you have to endure “And then there were”????)

  22. Ives, I love the blog but please stop with the “And then there were …” line. For the love of the English language, please make it stop. Bury it in a hole somewhere, so I don’t have to read/hear it every time there is a knock-out tournament. Thank you. That is all.

  23. It surprises me when I watch the MNT that Jozy never takes direct kicks. He’s easily got the most powerful shot on the team.

    I can’t believe he kept that shot so low though. If that is more than a few inches off the ground the keeper gets to it. Good goal.

  24. Thank you for the Jozy clip. Amazing to me that they had the confidence in him the first game to let him take that kick.

  25. As long as Dynamo Kiev get Sevilla, Az Alkmaar and anyone from Pot 4 but Wolfsburg and Liege in their group, I’ll be happy

  26. Wenger should bench Eduardo for being a cheat. And that ref should be forced to watch himself get suckered over and over again for all eternity on a cycling feed…


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