Arteta - We must be ready for tricky tie

Mikel Arteta has warned that Arsenal need to be ready for a potentially tricky draw in the Champions League.

The Gunners must win a play-off to reach the group stage for a 17th consecutive year and they will discover their opponents on Friday - with Athletic Bilbao, Besiktas, Lille, Standard Liege or Copenhagen lying in wait.

As a Basque who once played for Real Sociedad, Arteta will have a close eye on the draw to see if Arsenal are paired with his old club's rivals from Bilbao.

"I'm not going to lie, I have two or three teams in my head that I'd prefer"

"There is a big rivalry between Athletic and Real Sociedad," explained Arteta. "They are very close together, both cities, and historically it has been a very tough game.

"It is a very difficult game to face, that one, so I wouldn't be very pleased if we had to face them but you don't know. We're in this position because we couldn't do the business as we had to in the league at the end, and you need to pay a price.

"This is a tricky one and I want us to be ready because for us to play Champions League is vital."

Arsenal will be favourites to qualify irrespective of their opponents, but Arteta is hoping for a favourable draw.

"You let it go but obviously you know the teams a little bit and you know your preferences," he said.

"I'm not going to lie, I have two or three teams in my head that I'd prefer, but we can't choose! That's the price we need to pay and we need to be ready for it, it doesn't matter who the opponent is."

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