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Arsenal and Braga's Arsenalistas meet at last

The teams have never previously crossed paths but Arsenal FC and SC Braga have plenty in common even in advance of their meeting in north London on the opening night of Group H.

Arsenal and Braga's Arsenalistas meet at last
Arsenal and Braga's Arsenalistas meet at last ©UEFA.com

Arsenal FC's first opponents in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League are a Portuguese side who have strong connections with the London outfit. SC Braga, nicknamed the Arsenalistas because the clubs share the same colours, make their debut appearance in the competition proper at the Arsenal Stadium.

Previous meetings
• The sides have never met before in UEFA competition but Portuguese teams have not fared well when visiting Arsenal in recent years. In last season's UEFA Champions League round of 16, FC Porto lost 5-0 in north London, Nicklas Bendtner grabbing a hat-trick and Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Eboué both joining him on the scoresheet.

• Porto also lost 4-0 at Arsenal in the previous season's group stage, when Robin van Persie scored twice, and 2-0 in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stage, the Gunners' first match in the competition proper at the new stadium following their move from Highbury. Only SL Benfica of Arsenal's Portuguse Liga visitors left with a victory, winning 3-1 in the 1991/92 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round second leg.

• Braga have twice been involved in fixtures at nearby White Hart Lane. On both occasions Tottenham Hotspur FC were victorious, coming through 3-2 in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup round of 16 to complete a 6-4 aggregate triumph and winning 6-0 in the 1984/85 UEFA Cup first round second leg – Braga's heaviest defeat in UEFA competition – and 9-0 overall. In four visits to England Braga have suffered three defeats, their most recent trip – to Bolton Wanderers FC in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage – ending 1-1.

Match background
• Arsenal, who are taking part in their 13th UEFA Champions League campaign, have not failed to progress beyond the initial group stage in the last ten seasons. In the last three years they have made it through to the quarter-finals or better.

• Only Manchester United FC, who beat Arsenal in the 2008/09 semi-finals, have won in north London in the 24 UEFA Champions League games, including qualifiers, at the Arsenal Stadium. Before United's win Arsène Wenger's men had boasted a five-year unbeaten home run in the competition, bridging their two grounds.

• Last season Arsenal won all five home games, play-off round included, before FC Barcelona held them to a 2-2 draw in the quarter-finals en route to a 6-3 aggregate win. They started the group stage with a 3-2 success at R. Standard de Liège, their fifth Matchday 1 victory in six attempts. The 2008/09 campaign featured a 1-1 draw away to FC Dynamo Kyiv in their first game.

• Braga lost home (1-2) and away (0-2) to IF Elfsborg in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.

• The Portuguese side finished second in the 2009/10 Liga and ousted Celtic FC in the third qualifying round, a 3-0 first-leg win at home enough despite a 2-1 reverse in Glasgow. Sevilla FC were then shocked in the play-offs, Braga winning 1-0 at home and 4-3 in Spain to seal a famous triumph.

Team ties
• When, in 1921, Braga changed their team shirts from two large green and white vertical stripes, they took Arsenal's red-and-white colours as their inspiration. Since then they have been known as Minho's Arsenalistas (Arsenal from Minho).

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