Croatian international striker Eduardo faces a quick return to north London after the draw for UEFA Champions League Group H paired his new side, FC Shakhtar Donetsk, with former employers Arsenal FC, as well as SC Braga and FK Partizan.
The Brazilian-born player, 27, looked destined for great things with the Gunners before a broken leg stalled his progress, and he headed to Donetsk in search of a new start this summer. He and his colleagues will now look to repeat Shakhtar's 3-0 home win over Arsène Wenger's men from the 2000/01 first group stage, although that came after a dramatic 3-2 away reverse. As for Braga, they boast their own strong connections with Arsenal as they are nicknamed the Arsenalistas in honour of the two clubs' shared colours. Shakhtar and Partizan, meanwhile, met in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage, with the Pitmen winning 4-1 in Ukraine but losing 1-0 in Belgrade.
Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal chief executive
Well, it's not the big-name clubs, and in that sense we've avoided some bullets, but at the same time there are some very tricky challenges for us in this group. Shakhtar Donetsk are a team that are on the rise and making very rapid progress. They won the UEFA Cup a couple of years ago and they signed one of our strikers during the summer, Eduardo, and it will be wonderful to see him back – although hopefully not back scoring goals. Braga beat Celtic and Sevilla on the way through so they'll also be very, very difficult. And Partizan are a good quality side. So if we don't focus, if we allow ourselves to be at all complacent, we will definitely slip up.
Sergei Palkin, Shakhtar director
There are no weak teams at this level, so we have the same respect for all our opponents. Our meeting with Arsenal looks like the one with the most hanging on it. Recently, we bought the striker Eduardo from them and talked about further collaboration in the future. We know Partizan well; we have already beaten them in Europe. Braga are quite a strong club, so we will have to be at our best to win. Our group is quite strong and we'll have some interesting matches to play in the near future.
Fernando Couto, Braga sporting director
Arsenal are the favourites, but the other three teams all have a chance of qualifying. We have started the season very well. We have a good team and have strengthened with new players, so of course we want to continue to play good football. We managed to qualify against strong opponents in Celtic and Sevilla, and now we want to get through this group.
Cléo, Partizan forward
Any teams that have reached the Champions League group stage are there on merit, so I only have nice things to say about our opponents. However, our group is not all that strong and we have a chance to achieve something amazing. Of course, Arsenal are the favourites and the biggest name in Group H, and it will be a challenge to play against them. We played against Shakhtar in the UEFA Europa League group stage last season and know their strengths very well. Their attack is better than their defence. Braga have so many Brazilians and I know their fast, skilful style well. The games will be very open.
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