Arsenal are today celebrating their qualification and inescapable first knockout round exit from the Champions League following their 3-0 victory at Greek side Olympiacos.
Whilst the win ensures that Arsène Wenger’s cohorts emerged from the group stages of the prestigious competition for the astonishing sixteenth straight year, all feelings of optimism within the corridors of the Emirates Stadium are tempered by the fact that Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid are amongst the teams the Gunners could face when the knockout stages begins.
Olivier Giroud, who scored a hat-trick on the night, told reporters: ‘It was an excellent performance, and a great achievement when you think we lost our first two group matches. We can’t wait to go to the Bernabéu or Camp Nou and get our arses handed to us’.
Mesut Özil, who played a key role in the win, said: ‘All the lads are thrilled with getting through. Now we await Lionel Messi showing the world how out of our depth we are at the highest level’.
Arsenal last progressed past the final sixteen stage back in 2010, when Barcelona cruised home 6-3 on aggregate at the quarter final stage.