Champion League: The English assault

Champion League: The English assault

Arsenal

The Gunners approach this Champions League season with renewed hope.

The arrival of Mesut Oezil at Emirates Stadium has certainly armed the team with a belief that they are on the way to becoming a real force to be reckoned with again, on both the domestic and European stages.

That both Cristiano Ronaldo, his former Real Madrid teammate, and Joachim Loew, national coach of Germany, expressed disbelief that the Spanish La Liga club allowed Oezil to leave for London pretty much summed up the quality of the playmaker.

Many already envisage him to be the cutting edge that the Gunners have lacked since Cesc Fabregas left for Barcelona two years ago.

Oezil brings to Arsenal more than just flair and creativity on the field.

His stature in the game is going to make it easier for Arsenal to attract top players, and that's the perfect platform for manager Arsene Wenger to build on.

But he will need him to absolutely hit the ground running in Europe, where Arsenal have been drawn in one of the toughest groups.

Borussia Dortmund, last season's finalists, and Napoli are as tough as they come, while Marseille won't be pushovers.

The Gunners' adventure last season ended in the Round of 16, but it is worth remembering that they went out doing what Juventus, Barcelona and Dortmund couldn't - beat Bayern Munich.

After losing the home leg 3-1, they defeated the eventual winners 2-0 at the Allianz Arena, only to be eliminated on the away goals' rules.

It was a reminder of their pedigree.

They can fly when they hit the right note.

The performance of Oezil, however, will determine if they can maintain altitude.

* Singapore time

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