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Yearning for trophies

Profile: Champions League opponents Arsenal

The way things stand, the long wait for honours is set to continue this season for Arsenal and their fans, who are known to all and sundry as Gooners. Approaching the midpoint of the campaign, the north London club lie 15 points off Premier League leaders Manchester United, and seem unlikely to reclaim the title they last won in 2004. A recent League Cup exit on penalties to fourth division Bradford City hardly improved the mood at the Emirates Stadium going into the Christmas period.

Even respected boss Arsene Wenger, now in his 17th season at the Gunners helm, has not been immune to criticism this term. The 63-year-old himself has lamented “lost quality," and expressed concern at a lack of “determination and creativity. Once we recapture that, our position in the table will improve." Arsenal look likely to bring in reinforcements in the January sales: “Provided we find the right players, I think the board will find the money," Wenger declared.

In the English pecking order, the Londoners have fallen significantly behind the likes of United, Manchester City and Chelsea with their cash-laden outside investors. Just like FCB, the Gunners pursue strictly prudent financial policies and place a high value on internal youth development. Over the last seven seasons, the club has tended to land third or fourth in the Premier League, and last won silverware in the FA Cup back in 2005. Their most recent European highlight was a 2-1 defeat to Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League final.

One win over Bayern

The all-time third most successful club in England with 13 title triumphs have tasted European success just twice, in the 1994 European Cup Winners’ Cup and the 1970 Fairs Cup, which later became the UEFA Cup and is now the Europa League. The Gunners were knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern on one occasion in the past: in the 2004/05 Round of 16, Arsenal lost 3-1 in Munich, and although Wenger's team won 1-0 at home, they were eliminated 3-2 on aggregate. The only previous double-header came in the 2000/01 second group stage, when the sides drew 2-2 in London and FCB won by the only goal of the game at home.