Arsenal 3 – 1 Celtic (agg 5-1)

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A comfortable win for Arsenal this evening, and they go through into the main draw for the group stages tomorrow. Celtic might be justified in feeling Eduardo dived to get the penalty for the first goal, but truth be told they created very little in the 90 minutes to suggest the result would have been different had the spot kick not been given.

Eboue and Arshavin put a gloss on the aggregate score before Massimo Donati scored the best goal of the tie with a lovely angled volley. Despite having to come through the qualifiers, the Gunners’ recent European record means they are seeded in pot one.

Proof that Eduardo failed to clear Boruc's mini high jump.

Proof that Eduardo failed to clear Boruc's mini high jump.

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The 32 teams qualified for the main draw are as follows:

Pot One: Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd, AC Milan, Arsenal, Sevilla, Bayern Munich

Pot Two: Lyon, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, CSKA Moscow, Porto, AZ Alkmaar, Juventus, Rangers

Pot Three: Olympiakos, Marseille, Dinamo Kiev, Stuttgart, Fiorentina, Atletico Madrid, Bordeaux, Besiktas

Pot Four: Wolfsburg, Standard Liege, Maccabi Haifa, FC Zurich, Rubin Kazan, Unirea Urziceni, APOEL Nicosia, Debreceni

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Some interesting teams in each pot and no doubt all the top seeds will be looking to avoid Inter, Real Madrid and Juventus in Pot two. Real especially have paid for three consecutive second round knockouts. What price an immediate return to Anfield or Old Trafford for Xabi Alonso or Ronaldo? Pot three has lots of very capable teams who could hold their own with Stuttgart, Atletico and Fiorentina particularly dangerous.

As for Pot four, Wolfsburg are German Champions no less, and have kept the strikeforce which banged in about 60 goals last season. Rubin Kazan will be a tricky side to face too, having overcome the traditional Russian powerhouses in Moscow and St. Petersburg to become Russian Champions last year. Some potentially long distance trips in that pot as well.

The draw is made tomorrow afternoon at some point and we’ll have reaction once it’s all said and done.

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T.

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