This week our statistician looks at Arsenal's excellent record in the Champions League group stage.

Despite a 2-0 defeat in Naples, Arsenal have progressed past the first Champions League group stage for the 14th year in a row.

This is Arsenal's 16th consecutive season of Champions League football, and since the second group stage was scrapped in 2003, Arsenal have always reached the knockout stages, and have reached double figures in points in every group they have played.

They have won six of the groups since 2003, finishing runners-up the other five times.

Arsenal have never lost a matchday two fixture

Overall Arsenal have played in 19 Champions League groups (including three second stage groups) and the complete record for this time is P114, W57, D28, L29, F183, A116.

On average Arsenal score 9.63 goals per group, concede 6.11 and earn 10.47 points (out of a possible 18). Whenever Arsenal have earned nine points or more in a group, they have always progressed to the next round. The highest scoring group stage was in 2010/11, when the Gunners racked up 18 goals (at an average of three a game) though only finished runners-up.

Arsenal have never finished lower than third in a group, while their lowest points tally was seven (in the second group stages of 2001/02 and 2002/03).

The average finishing position is 1.79, while Arsenal have remained unbeaten throughout the group on two occasions - in 2004/05 and 2005/06. In fact in the latter of those seasons Arsenal also avoided losing during the knockout stages too, only tasting defeat to Barcelona in the final.

Champions League group stage record

Season Group P W D L F A Pts Pos
1998/99 E 6 2 2 2 8 8 8 3
1999/2000 B 6 2 2 2 9 9 8 3
2000/01 B 6 4 1 1 11 8 13 1
  C* 6 2 2 2 6 8 8 2
2001/02 C 6 3 0 3 9 9 9 2
  D* 6 2 1 3 8 8 7 3
2002/03 A 6 3 1 2 9 4 10 1
  B* 6 1 4 1 6 5 7 3
2003/04 B 6 3 1 2 9 6 10 1
2004/05 E 6 2 4 0 11 6 10 1
2005/06 B 6 5 1 0 10 2 16 1
2006/07 G 6 3 2 1 7 3 11 1
2007/08 H 6 4 1 1 14 4 13 2
2008/09 G 6 3 2 1 11 5 11 2
2009/10 H 6 4 1 1 12 5 13 1
2010/11 H 6 4 0 2 18 7 12 2
2011/12 F 6 3 2 1 7 6 10 1
2012/13 B 6 3 1 2 10 8 11 2
2013/14 F 6 4 0 2 8 5 12 2
Total   114 57 28 29 183 116 199 1.79

This season Arsenal amassed 12 points from the six games, a figure they have only surpassed four times previously.

Arsenal have won the group with 10 points in the past. They have, however, also finished second with 12 points before (in 2010/11) and even finished second with 13 points in 2007/08.

Final Group Stage Positions

Arsenal's group stage this season largely followed that of previous years. It kicked off away in Marseille (more than twice as many groups have started away than at home) and then continued with a home win over Napoli on matchday two.

Arsenal have never lost a matchday two fixture in any of the 19 groups, and have won each of the past five played at home. It is their most successful matchday, with an average of 2.58 points per game taken.

In October, Arsenal lost on matchday three at home to Borussia Dortmund. The previous season Arsenal also lost the third game of the group at home to German opposition.

The return match in Dortmund was a stunning 1-0 win, as Arsenal continued their record of never losing both games of the matchday three/four double header against the same team.

On matchday five Arsenal beat French opposition at home 2-0, just as they did last season.

The group concluded with a 2-0 reverse in Italy. Matchday six remains Arsenal's least successful matchday, winning just six out of 19, and taking an average of 1.11 points per game. Indeed the last time Arsenal won the last group game away from home was back in November 1999, against AIK Solna.

The final matchday though has often featured a number of dead rubbers with qualification either already secured by then, or arithmetically impossible.

This was the 13th time out of 19 group stages so far (68.4 per cent) that the campaign got underway with an away fixture. Traditionally though, Arsenal prefer to start at home - the average finishing position is 0.7 places higher (1.3 as opposed to 2) when the first group match is at home.

Arsenal have finished runners-up in three of the past four seasons, and although winning the group ensures a next round draw against a runner-up from a different group, finishing top hasn't necessarily translated into a discernible advantage for the Gunners.

From the six seasons that the team topped the group since 2003, Arsenal were eliminated at the first knockout round three times (50 per cent). From the four previous years in which they were runners-up, they fell at the next hurdle twice (also 50 per cent).

Group stages by letter

Letter Seasons Ave pos
A 1 1
B 6 1.83
C 2 2
D 1 3
E 2 2
F 2 1.5
G 2 1.5
H 3 1.7
Total 19 1.79 

Results by matchday

Matchday P W D L F A Pts PPG H/A
1 19 11 4 4 31 20 37 1.95 6/13
2 19 15 4 0 42 14 49 2.58 13/6
3 19 8 6 5 33 18 30 1.58 7/12
4 19 6 9 4 25 19 27 1.42 12/7
5 19 11 2 6 30 19 35 1.84 13/6
6 19 6 3 10 22 26 21 1.11 6/13

Arsenal faced Italian, German and French opposition this year - all three are among the most common nations that the Club have faced in Champions League group matches. The Gunners have played more games against German sides than teams from any other nation. Arsenal have won seven of the 16 matches, though the win in Dortmund this season was only our second on German soil in the group stages.

German teams remain the only visiting sides to have won at Emirates Stadium in group games (Schalke last season and Dortmund this year).

This season Arsenal continued their excellent away record against French sides. The Gunners are unbeaten in France in the group stage (P6 W5 D1 L0) and have now won the last two home games against French teams as well.

Arsenal have 100 per cent records in group stage matches against teams from Belgium, Romania, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland. Of the teams faced more than twice, the Club's best record is against Czech teams (P6 W5 D1 L0).

The 114 matches in group stage history have come against teams from 17 different countries.

Champions League group results by country

  P W D L F A Pts PPG
Serbia  2 2 0 0 6 2 6 3
Sweden 2 2 0 0 6 3 6 3
Belgium 2 2 0 0 5 2 6 3
Romania  2 2 0 0 3 1 6 3
Switzerland 2 2 0 0 3 1 6 3
Czech Republic 6 5 1 0 17 2 16 2.7
France 12 7 3 2 14 7 24 2
Norway  2 1 1 0 6 2 4 2
Turkey  2 1 1 0 5 2 4 2
Holland 10 4 0 6 14 5 18 1.8
Germany 16 7 4 5 26 22 25 1.6
Portugal 6 3 1 2 12 4 10 1.7
Greece 12 6 2 4 19 15 20 1.7
Italy 12 5 3 4 17 12 18 1.5
Ukraine 10 4 2 4 15 15 14 1.4
Russia 6 2 2 2 4 5 8 1.3
Spain 10 2 2 6 11 16 8 0.8
Total 114 57 28 29 183 116 119 1.7

As mentioned earlier, this is Arsenal's 16th consecutive season in the Champions League, a record matched only by Manchester United and Real Madrid. Only Real can surpass Arsenal's record of consecutive progressions from the first group stage (14) and consecutive knockout stages reached (12).

So the group stages hold largely happy memories for Arsenal, especially in the last 10 years or so. For the first two seasons (1998/99 and 1999/2000) home games were played at Wembley Stadium (with a record of P6 W2 D1 L3) before Highbury played host from 2000/01 to 2005/06 (P27 W16 D8 L3).

Finishing top hasn't necessarily translated into a discernible advantage in the past for the Gunners

Since moving to Emirates Stadium in 2006, the home group stage record is (P24 W19 D3 L2), taking 60 points from a possible 72. Arsenal have conceded just 12 goals from those 24 matches too, keeping 14 clean sheets.

They have now won more games at Emirates in the groups stages than at Highbury, despite playing three fewer games.

The away record has improved over time as well. Arsenal won just four of their first 18 away games (22 per cent) in the group stages, but have now recorded 16 victories in the past 39 matches (41 per cent) on the road.

There have been some significant milestones and records in the 114 group games so far too.

In 2002 Gilberto scored what was, at the time, the fastest ever Champions League goal - just 20.07 seconds into the 4-0 win away to PSV on matchday two.

Another hugely significant goal came in the 2005/06 group stage, when Thierry Henry confirmed his status as the Club's greatest ever goalscorer. On October 17, 2005 he came off the bench in the matchday three fixture away to Sparta Prague, and scored both goals in a 2-0 win to surpass Ian Wright's old goalscoring record of 185 goals for the Club.

More recently another Prague team, Slavia Prague, were on the receiving end of Arsenal's biggest ever victory at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners triumphed 7-0 on matchday three in 2007/08, with Theo Walcott and Cesc Fabregas netting two each. It also remains the Club's biggest ever Champions League win.

Group stage record by venue

  P W D L F A Pts
Wembley 6 2 1 3 8 9 7
Highbury 27 16 8 3 48 25 56
Emirates 24 19 3 2 58 12 60
Away 57 20 16 21 69 70 76

Stats correct as at December 12, 2013

Matchday Programme

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Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Josh James 12 Dec 2013