Arsenal hero identifies the team the Gunners want to avoid in the Champions League draw
By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Mathieu Flamini has revealed that Barcelona are the team Arsenal want to avoid in the Champions League draw.
The Gunners clinched an against-the-odds place in the knockout stage by defeating Olympiakos 3-0 on Wednesday night on one of the most memorable nights in the club’s European history.
They finished as runners-up in Group F, which means they will be draw against one of the group winners, including big guns Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid as well as Manchester United conquerors Wolfsburg and Zenit St Petersburg.
Arsenal have failed to progress beyond the last-16 stage in each of the last three seasons and Flamini is keen to avoid the reigning European champions.
“We obviously don’t want Barcelona as they are a top team but for the rest, we will see,” the 31-year-old said after the Olympiakos win on Wednesday night.
“We played Monaco last year and we thought it would maybe a bit easier and it was not the case. So whoever we play, we will give 100 per cent.”
Flamini is confident that the manner of Arsenal’s win over Olympiakos bodes well for when the competition recommences in February.
He said: “It was a good performance against Olympiakos and we showed great team spirit. We had the chance to prove to everyone we have the qualities of being a top team in the Champions League.
“We did it, playing some good football. It was a good test for us to see if we had the personality and character to have a positive result.”