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Arsenal out to finish on a high

The issues in UEFA Champions League Group H are decided bar one - can Arsenal FC beat FC Steaua Bucureşti in London and edge Sevilla FC out of top spot?

Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini vies with Bănel Nicoliţă on Matchday 2
Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini vies with Bănel Nicoliţă on Matchday 2 ©Getty Images

The issues in UEFA Champions League Group H are decided – bar one. All that remains is the identity of the section victors and Arsenal FC will need to return to winning ways in their home game with FC Steaua Bucureşti to have a hope of edging out Sevilla FC.

• The defeat in Spain on Matchday 5 – Arsenal's first of the season in any competition – lifted Sevilla into first place but on their return to familiar surroundings, Arsène Wenger's side will hope to reassert their superiority, though they need SK Slavia Praha to take at least a point from their home game against Sevilla.

• Arsenal had led at the Ramón Sanchéz-Pizjuán on Matchday 5 thanks to Eduardo da Silva's early goal but Seydou Keita and Luis Fabiano overturned that advantage and Frédéric Kanouté completed Sevilla's victory with a late penalty.

• In the away game against Steaua on 2 October, a Robin van Persie goal after 76 minutes helped the London club to a second successive win in the competition. Arsenal won their first three games, scoring eleven goals without reply, but then they slowed, drawing 0-0 away to Slavia before the defeat in Spain.

• In their tenth successive campaign in Europe's most prestigious club competition, the London club continue to defend a proud home record – spanning two grounds. Since losing a 2003/04 quarter-final second leg to Chelsea FC at Highbury, Arsenal played ten matches in the competition at their old stadium without losing, winning seven and drawing three. Now they have gone another eight matches unbeaten, including qualifying rounds, at their new home in Ashburton Grove, with six wins and two draws.

• Before Matchday 2, Arsenal had not faced a Romanian side in European competition. They have a link with Steaua in that both faced FC Barcelona in their one and only appearance in the final of the European Champion Clubs' Cup. Yet whereas Steaua climbed onto the victors' rostrum in 1985/86 in Seville following a penalty shoot-out, Arsenal were unable to withstand the Catalan club's storming comeback 20 years later in Paris and succumbed 2-1.

• Steaua have lost both their previous away games in the section 2-1 and with just a single point accrued so far they know they cannot improve on last place. With no wins in their five fixtures this season it means they have only amassed four victories in 29 group matches.

• Two weeks ago, as they celebrated the 50th anniversary of their first match in European club competition, Steaua led Slavia through Valentin Badea's early goal, their first in front of their own supporters in Group H. However, Zdeněk Šenkeřík's late header kept their Czech opponents four points ahead in the battle for third spot and denied Steaua a first home win in the UEFA Champions League for eleven years.

• As if Arsenal's home record is not foreboding enough for Marius Lăcătuş's team, the club's own record in England will not inspire much confidence. In five previous visits to England, all in the UEFA Cup, they have still to return home with a victory. Their best achievement was a couple of draws against West Ham United FC and Southampton FC in the 1999/00 second round and 2003/04 first round respectively.

• They will not remember their last visit with any pleasure. In the 2005/06 UEFA Cup semi-finals Steaua beat Middlesbrough FC 1-0 in the home leg but then lost a dramatic return 4-2. Steaua had carved out a 2-0 lead at the Riverside to go 3-0 up on aggregate but failed to hold out as Steve McClaren's team made a storming recovery.