Champions League: The stats spell sadness for Arsenal

The Nacho-Monreal-at-centre-back experiment hasn't been particularly popular with Arsenal fans

If Arsenal are runners-up in their Champions League group, they have a 16% chance of reaching the quarter-finals...

"All eight group runners-up were eliminated in the first knockout phase last season."

The reaction when UEFA revealed that the top seeds in next season's Champions League group-stage draw will be the holders and winners of the leading seven divisions rather than the best-performing European teams was that Arsenal would be among the worst affected.

However, given the Gunners' flair for finding a way to finish second in their group every year regardless of top-seed status and their knack of always qualifying for the last 16 - they last failed in 1999/00 - the likelihood is that it wouldn't make much difference.

Their latest act of foot-shooting, a collapse from 3-0 up at home to Anderlecht, follows last term's week-six loss to Napoli, 2012/13's Emirates defeat to Schalke, 2010/11's beating in Braga and the 2008/09 and 2007/08 reverses in Porto and Sevilla in a growing collection of top spot-surrendering methods.

Trailing Borussia Dortmund by five points with two to play - and needing to best Jurgen Klopp's men by a three-goal margin to gain head-to-head supremacy even if the Bundesliga strugglers gift them a lifeline by drawing their closing clash with Anderlecht - Arsenal are out to 8.415/2 to win Group D.

Finishing second is often discussed as being costly because it forces you to face a group victor in the round-of-16, with the disadvantage doubled up by playing the second leg away, and the statistics surrounding the circumstances are arguably even scarier.

All eight runners-up were eliminated in the first knockout phase last season, as were six in 2012/13 and 2011/12 and seven in 2010/11. In total, that is 27 out of 32 second-place sides over the past four campaigns whose post-Christmas involvement in the Champions League lasted only one round, a massive 84%.

Similarly, the seeded club in four of Arsenal's previous five round-of-16 ties progressed to the quarter-finals. The Gunners prospered against Porto in 2009/10 and were punished for not obtaining enough group-stage points in 2010/11 (Barcelona), 2012/13 and 2013/14 (both Bayern Munich).

The sole exception was 2011/12, when Arsene Wenger's team topped Group F, but flopped against Group H runners-up AC Milan, losing the first leg 0-4.

It therefore isn't a huge surprise that Arsenal are out to 36.035/1 to lift the trophy for the first time, having been backed at 16.5 in the summer.

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