07 December 2016

Arsenal win Group A only to face...Real Madrid? Bayern Munich?

Courtesy of a swash-buckling demolition of FC Basel coupled with PSG's craven capitulation to Ludogorets Razgrad, Arsenal have won their Champions League group. Ordinarily, this might earn us a chance at facing a somewhat-weaker opponent. However, Arsenal being Arsenal, the opponent we're most likely to face is Real Madrid, who finished second in their group after drawing at home to Borussia Dortmund. So it goes. Of the other second-place finishers, we might also draw once again to none other than Bayern Munich. Drop down below the fold to assess our odds and rate our chances of advancing past the round of 16 for the first time since 2010...

Here, first of all, are each of the second-place finishers and our odds of facing off against them:
  • Real Madrid: 21.74%
  • Bayern Munich: 16.77%
  • Benfica: 12.91%
  • PSG: 0%
  • Man City: 0%
  • Sevilla: 19.88%
  • FC Porto: 13.11%
  • Bayer Leverkusen: 15.6%
As you can see, there's a pretty tidy if inconvenient inverse relationship between whom we'd like to face and whom we're likely to face. While admitting that few if any clubs reach this stage through dumb luck, it's pretty clear that drawing Real Madrid or Bayern Munich would be less than ideal, and that drawing Benfica or Porto would be somewhat moreso. 

A lot can happen between now and the next round. Injuries. Transfers. Existential crises. Assuming for now that each squad will perform in February and March to levels similar to how they've performed to date, how would you rate our chances against each of them? Get into the poll to share your highly unscientific, in-no-way biased opinions!