'Arsenal won't dominate their Champions League group': Former Gunners captain heeds warning ahead of opening game

 Leandro Trossard of Arsenal (L) celebrates with Martin Odegaard of Arsenal (2L), Bukayo Saka of Arsenal (C), William Saliba of Arsenal (2R) and Fabio Vieira of Arsenal (R) after scoring their 1st goal during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Arsenal FC at Goodison Park on September 17, 2023 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images) Champions League
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Arsenal return to the Champions League for the 2023/24 season after more than six years away, and are favourites to finish top of Group B to qualify for the knockout stages.

Former Arsenal captain William Gallas, though, doesn't believe the Gunners are guaranteed to comfortably qualify from their group, which also contains Sevilla, PSV and Lens

Picking out Spanish side Sevilla, who reached the Champions League after winning the Europa League once again last season, as Arsenal's main threat in the group, Gallas thinks the lack of experience Mikel Arteta and his players have on the elite European stage could impact their performances in the competition.

William Gallas of Arsenal gestures during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final 1st leg match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on April 2, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Gallas captained Arsenal at the end of the 2000s (Image credit: Getty Images)

"I wouldn’t be so confident that Arsenal will dominate their Champions League group," Gallas told Genting Casino. "Sevilla is a very strong team. After watching the Europa League final, I saw a team that is very comfortable on the European stage.

"I think they will finish in the top two of the group. It’s very difficult to play against Sevilla – they play good, intense football. Technically, they are really good. Don’t forget, Sevilla also has a lot more experience than Arsenal at this level.

"I’m confident that Arsenal will qualify from the group, that is for sure, but they will finish behind Sevilla."

With a large amount of the Arsenal squad set to make their Champions League debuts against PSV on Wednesday night, Gallas highlights the pride each player will be feeling ahead of kick-off.

Ivan Rakitic of Sevilla FC hands the UEFA Europa League trophy to the Sevilla FC fans after the team's victory in the penalty shoot out during the UEFA Europa League 2022/23 final match between Sevilla FC and AS Roma at Puskas Arena on May 31, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Gallas is backing Sevilla to top the group after they won the Europa League last season (Image credit: Getty Images)

"The players who haven’t played in the Champions League will realise that all of the sacrifices they made as young people to become professional football players was worth it," Gallas said. 

"Playing in the Champions League is a dream for any professional, football player. They will be a lot of thoughts running through the players’ minds while the Champions League anthem is playing. They will be very proud of themselves because, you have to make huge sacrifices to make it in football. 

"It’s not easy making your breakthrough. They need to enjoy the moment because they deserve it."

More Arsenal stories

Mikel Arteta has revealed the strange marriage metaphor he's used to motivate Kai Havertz. The Basque boss used another bizarre analogy recently to explain his tactics against Manchester City.

The Arsenal manager has had to defend Havertz already this season, notably after the 2-2 draw against Fulham.

Meanwhile, Brentford striker Ivan Toney has revealed he would be interested in a move to Arsenal in future.

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