The Women’s Champions League draw was earlier today, and Arsenal find themselves in a manageable group. With sixteen teams in the group stage, there aren’t going to be any easy outs, but Arsenal have a good chance to advance to the knockout round. This is the first season that the Women’s Champions League will have a group stage. Previously, the competition went straight to knockouts.
The Gunners drew Barcelona, HB Koge, and Hoffenheim in Group C. Current champions Barcelona should be the favorite to win the group. HB Koge (1st in the Danish Elitedivisionen) and Hoffenheim (4th in the Frauen-Bundesliga through 3 matches - 2W, 1D) are no slouches, but I’d pick Arsenal to advance over them.
Facing Barcelona should be a great measuring-stick for how the Gunners stack up against the elite of the elite in Europe. Barca absolutely dismantled Chelsea in the Champions League final in May, mostly due to the Blues’ still-not-remedied problems at outside back. Barcelona’s speed, both physical and of-play, might give the Gunners problems at the back, but Arsenal have the offensive firepower to keep up with anybody. I’m really looking forward to those contests.
The dates for the matches have yet to be announced.
Oh. And I would be remiss if I didn’t remind everyone that Arsenal are the only English club to have won the Champions League.