LONDON (AFP) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger vowed his team had nothing to fear after they advanced to the knockout phase of the Champions League and a likely showdown with one of European football's heavyweights.
A below-par Arsenal were made to work hard for a 3-1 victory over Partizan Belgrade on Wednesday, with Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri scoring the decisive goals after the Serbs' striker Cleo had cancelled out Robin Van Persie's opener.
However the result was not good enough to clinch first place in Group H, meaning that the Gunners now face a last 16 tie against either Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Schalke 04.
Wenger acknowledged that the possibility of a match against Barcelona -- who destroyed Arsenal 4-1 in the Nou Camp last season -- was a daunting prospect.
However the Frenchman insisted his team would be confident of progressing regardless of who they were eventually drawn against.
"You would have to say let's be realistic. Barcelona is the super-favourite in this competition at the moment," Wenger said.
"But we take what we get and if it's Barcelona, it's Barcelona. We've played them already last year and we'll see.
"Last year we went out against them. But I feel we had some room to do better because it was 2-2 at home and we were leading 1-0 over there.
"We lost 4-1 but it depends whether we have our best players available, a good level of confidence."
Wenger also believes that his team -- which is currently leading the Premier League and has advanced to the semi-finals of the League Cup -- may also improve by the time the Champions League resumes in February.
"We are in a strong position in the league, we are qualified in the Champions League, we are in the semi-finals of the League Cup," he said.
"So overall there are plenty of exciting challenges in front of us. But we have room for improvement and I believe we will."
Wenger knows an improvement on his team's performance against Partizan will be necessity if they are to progress in the Champions League.
While the Londoners always looked to have plenty in reserve, perhaps with one eye on next Monday's Premier League showdown with Manchester United, Wenger was unhappy with an uncharacteristically stilted attacking performance.
"I was not completely happy with our offensive game tonight but maybe it was down to the quality of Partizan's defending because they defended in an intelligent way and very well," Wenger said.
"We have played some great games since the start of the season and tonight was certainly not our best. But what is important is that we are in the competitions.
"We didn't find our pace in the game. We didn't manage to find openings in their defence and they defended very well. Our passing lacked a little bit of incisiveness," Wenger added.
Arsenal's captain-for-the-night Van Persie said the Gunners believe they can finally end their five-year trophy drought this season.
"Everything starts with belief," Van Persie told Sky Sports.
"If you don't believe you'd better stop playing football. We do believe we can achieve things this year."
Van Persie said he was not fazed by the fact that Arsenal's second place finish could mean a trip to Barcelona or Madrid.
"As a fan of football I'd love to be involved in a game against either Barcelona or Madrid but we'll just have to see what happens in the draw," he said.
|UEFA Champions League Review: Steaua ease through as Legia Warsaw hit five|
|Youngsters inspire Sunderland to win at Hartlepool|
|Aluko and Sagbo net as Hull City beat York|
|PSG loan Aurier from Toulouse|
|Emotional Davies thanks Swansea fans|
|Mandzukic makes debut as Atletico win|
|Filipe makes bow in Chelsea draw|
|Bahebeck stars again as PSG beat Nice|
|Conte rubbishes PSG talk|
|Tottenham sign Davies and Vorm as Sigurdsson joins Swansea|
|De Laurentiis vows Napoli will fight for Scudetto|
|Lyon sign Jallet from PSG|
|Rijeka deny racism allegations|
|Suarez has been treated ´like a murderer´, says Aspas|
|Basel secure Samuel swoop|
|Thai Premier League Review: Buriram go top as Muang Thong slip up|
|Dnipro-Copenhagen clash moved to Kiev|
|Tevez never considered Juve exit|
|Djuricic joins Mainz on loan|
|Cavani keen on PSG stay|
|Shaqiri flattered by Juventus link|
|Johnson, Sommer arrive at Monchengladbach|
|J.League Review: Kawasaki close gap on Sagan, Urawa move clear at top|
|Coleman to miss Everton´s Thailand trip|
|Thankful Rueda bids farewell to Ecuador|
|Liga MX Preview: Peralta set for home debut, Leon seek recovery|
|K.League Review: Top two draw blanks, Jeju United close in|
|CAF Champions League Preview: Zamalek primed for crucial game, CS Sfaxien meet ES Tunis|
|Low quashes Germany exit rumours|
|Getafe agree Michel loan|
|Porto bring in Brahimi from Granada|
|Pardew satisfied with attacking signings|
|Pellegrini targets further City signings|
|Sevilla complete Krychowiak deal|
|Eisfeld makes Fulham move|
|Zarate opens account as West Ham stumble|
|I have nothing to prove, says Ince|
|Barcelona seal Mathieu deal|
|United prepared to spend big, claims Woodward|
|Shakhtar to play in Lviv|
|Pereyra poised for Juve switch|
|Fabregas eyes trophies at Chelsea|
|Vorm confirms Tottenham transfer|
|Deila: Forster will leave Celtic eventually|
|No pressure for Shaw|
|Van Gaal happy with preparations|
|Diarra aiming for Bordeaux return after West Ham frustration|
|Last season for Montpellier owner Nicollin|
|Monaco: Rodriguez deal too good to ignore|
|Nacional Asuncion 2 Defensor Sporting 0: Hosts surge towards Libertadores final|
|Garcia eyeing Serie A title|
|Father against Vlasic´s move abroad|
|Rodgers welcomes Gerrard´s international retirement|
|Cruzeiro, Atletico Mineiro bid for Robinho|
|Inzaghi not drawn into Balotelli speculation|
|Dunga ´not going to sell a dream´|
|City´s Fofana allegedly racially abused|
|Carroll ruled out of NZ friendlies|
|Rodgers excited by new arrivals|
|Zeljeznicar 2 Metalurg Skopje 2 (agg 2-2): Visitors advance on away goals|
|Gibson returns as Tranmere hold Everton|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Celtic coast through, BATE given scare|
|Gomez and Jones feature in Sunderland win|
|Leicester hit Ilkeston for six|
|Austin fires QPR to narrow victory|
|Guardiola: No trophies and I may be sacked|
|Dortmund held as Immobile makes debut|
|Rodriguez´s dream becomes Real|
|Garcia: Benatia and Ljajic going nowhere|
|Stoke secure Bojan on four-year deal|
|FA: No World Cup bids for England|
|Kroos commits to Bremen|
|Caulker makes QPR move|
|Forest agree Hunt loan deal with Palace|
|Bartra ready to prove himself at Barca|
|Southampton looking to sell Osvaldo|
|Marveaux loaned to Guingamp|
|Mourinho eyes success on two fronts|
|Sammer encouraged by Lewandowski start|
|PSG punished for abuse of Chelsea fans|
|Dunga unveiled as Brazil coach|
|Shakhtar CEO: Focus is on players´ safety|
|Foster agrees new West Brom deal|
|Real Madrid sign Rodriguez|
|Mustafi eyes Bundesliga switch|
|Klopp laughs off Hummels, Reus speculation|
|Campana makes Sampdoria switch|
|Leicester seal Ulloa deal|
|Morata sidelined for seven weeks with knee injury|
|Riviere on target in comfortable Newcastle win|
|Advocaat set for Serbia role|
|Wisdom joins West Brom on loan|
|Bundesliga to consider vanishing foam|
|Five-man shortlist for Ivory Coast|
|´Personal issues´ keep Gervinho away from Roma tour|
|Jedinak raring to go|
|Borini set for Liverpool stay, claims agent|
|Koeman: No bids for Lovren|
|Livermore: England hopes shouldn´t hinge on club side|
|MLS Preview: Tough tests for Conference leaders, Revolution still struggling|
|Mathieu not Barca material, says Marquez|
|West Brom claim unimpressive win in Sacramento|
|Neymar: Brazil behind Germany, Spain|
|Vietnamese police confirm match-fixing players|
|Lucescu blames Joorabchian for AWOL players|
|Robinho undecided on future|
|Rush: Still years left in Gerrard|
|Tiago re-signs with Atletico|
|Puyol against Spain overhaul|
|Agger considering his Liverpool future|
|Peruvian Primera Division Review: Juan Aurich bounce back, Melgar draw with Inti Gas|
|Bayern deny interest in Cuadrado|