Arsene Wenger's side have shown remarkable consistency in European football's elite club tournament, qualifying for the group stage for 13 seasons in succession and each time going on to reach the next phase of the competition. They were runners up in 2006 to a Henrik Larsson-inspired Barcelona, reached the semi-finals in 2009 and the quarter-finals on four other occasions, not quite the same as actually winning something but a source of comfort for their fans nevertheless.
The chances of them making it out of the group stage for a 14th time in a row, however, will be severely tested this time. If it is Group H, with Celtic, Ajax, Barcelona and AC Milan, that inherited the 'group of death' tag, then there was a sharp intake of breath when Arsenal's fate was finalised. Compared to the less daunting challenges handed out to fellow top seeds Manchester United and Chelsea, the north London side can be entitled to think that Group F could stand for fraught, frightening or even just flipping difficult.
The capriciousness of UEFA's co-efficient system means that teams lurking in pot four in the draw can often turn out to be as much of a threat as those in pots two or three. Given the chance to handpick a side from the bottom pot this season, it is highly unlikely Wenger would have plumped for Napoli. The Italians clinched their Champions League spot by finishing second in Serie A behind Juventus. There have been key departures since then - coach Walter Mazzarri has moved on to Internazionale, while star striker Edinson Cavani signed for Paris Saint-Germain for around £55m - but those losses have done little to disrupt Napoli's rhythm, the team motoring to the top of the table on the back of three successive wins.
Mazzarri has been replaced by Rafael Benitez, a man with something of a decent European pedigree. With both and Champions and Europa League triumph on his cv, he has left Chelsea for a new challenge in Italy and would surely like nothing more than to dish out a double dose of misery to Wenger, Arsenal and English football by extension. He has redistributed the Cavani money shrewdly, beating Arsenal to Gonzalo Higuain, and recruiting his Real Madrid team-mates Jose Callejon and Raul Albiol, as well as Pepe Reina from Liverpool, Dries Mertens from PSV Eindhoven and Duvan Zapata from Estudiantes in Argentina.
Of the once holy trinity of Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik, only the Slovak remains but, judging by his start to the season, he remains as influential as ever. As Arsenal will find out, Napoli's ambitions will stretch beyond simply making it out of the group this season.
If drawing the Italians from pot four was unlucky, Arsenal fans must have had their head in their hands when Borussia Dortmund came out of pot three. Last season's surprise team - if any Bundesliga champion can ever truly fly under the radar - benefitted from a combination of coach Juergen Klopp's scheming, a dose of good fortune and a young, exuberant side committed to attack to go all the way to the final. Bayern Munich proved too strong in the showpiece then rubbed Dortmund noses in it by taking Mario Goetze off their hands in one of the most audacious moves of the summer.
Dortmund and Klopp, however, remain unbowed. They slapped Bayern away as they reached in again to try to take striker Robert Lewandowski, then showed there was life after Goetze by going out and making two big signings of their own. Klopp has always had a nose for avoiding the obvious when it comes to transfers and, although the size of the price tags and selling clubs means it can no longer be considered a Moneyball strategy, it looks as if he has landed another two gems in Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the pair proving to be has hard to mark as their names are to spell. With both chipping in with goals to add to those scored by Lewandowski and Marco Reus, Dortmund have started the season with five wins out of five. The irony will be overwhelming should Arsenal fail to make it to the knock-out phase as a result of goals scored by Mkhitaryan, a self-confessed life-long fan of the club.
If Wenger did catch a break, it maybe came in the shape of their opponents from the second pot. Olympique Marseille were second in Ligue 1 but have been left in the shade financially by both PSG and Monaco. A third-place finish in the Europa League group stage last year suggests they may struggle to make much of an impression and much will be expected of Florian Thauvin and Dimitri Payet, the twin summer arrivals from Lille. Thauvin, an under-20 World Cup winner with France, was a player Arsenal were once keen on, joining a long list of targets that never ended up moving to The Emirates. This may well be the campaign where Arsenal's hesitancy in the transfer market comes back to haunt them.