Going in to the draw today, Arsenal could’ve faced any of the following clubs: Barcelona, Inter Milan, PSV Eindhoven, Roma, Real Madrid, Celtic or Lille. Probably the easiest opposition for the Gunners might have been Lille which snuck in to the knockout stages after an uninterested AC Milan side lost 2-0 and Anderlecht (Belgium) drew 2-2 with AEK Athens. Manchester United will face Lille while the Gunners will deal with PSV Eindhoven. The biggest game of the first round has Barcelona facing a disappointed Liverpool side.
Of course, when you talk about Arsenal vs. PSV, Gilberto and the fastest Champions League goal come to mind:
Nostalgia aside, Arsenal are in tough against the semi-finalists of two years past but the motivation driven by the disappointment of losing the Champions League final will guide the Gunners through.
Here are the first round ties to be played on February 20/21 and March 6/7:
- FC Porto v Chelsea
- Celtic v AC Milan
- PSV Eindhoven v Arsenal
- Lille v Manchester United
- AS Roma v Lyon
- Barcelona v Liverpool
- Real Madrid v Bayern Munich
- Inter Milan v Valencia
My surprise pick is Celtic sneaking by AC Milan.
Here is the UEFA Champions League Draw from Nyon, Switzerland conducted on Friday, December 15th, 2006: