Arsenal is aiming to secure a win in their second fixture of the Champions League Group Stage and unlike past seasons, Wenger is determined to move beyond the tournament’s Round of 16.
In the last 16 years Arsenal has not only qualified for the Champions League but has always secured a place in the Round of 16. However, six times in those years Wenger has failed to see his side reach the quarter-finals.
One of the main reasons behind Arsenal’s Champions League struggle is to finish top of the group. Failure to do so has led to the Gunners setting themselves up against opponents that prove too hard to handle for Wenger’s inexperienced side.
Last season, Arsenal went up against Barcelona who knocked Arsenal out with a score of 5-1 on aggregate. The clear domination of the opponent reflects Arsenal’s inability to compete against Europe’s best teams and it is therefore important for the Gunners to finish top in the Group Stage in order to increase their chances of survival in the tournament.
Speaking in the press-conference ahead of the match against Basel, Wenger responded to the possibility of getting beyond the last 16 this season.
“It’s our target but the truth is on the pitch,” said Wenger.
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“We had a good game on Saturday but let’s show we can go from good game to good game.
“In recent years we could have gone out in the group stage, last year we made it difficult for ourselves.
“We have learned that is not only important to qualify but to qualify top so you can get many more chances after.”
The Gunners managed to earn a 1-1 away draw against Paris Saint-Germain, the main rivals to Arsenal’s fight to finish top in the Group. They now face FC Basel on Wednesday evening, and is a side that has the potential to cause an upset. The Swiss side have lost just one of their four away games against English sides.
They have managed to win against Tottenham and Chelsea in the past and drawn against Manchester United back in 2012. Their only defeat came in May 2013 when they lost against Chelsea.
Arsenal need to be on their toes for the entire course of the match to keep the Swiss Super League Champions at bay and win. These three points can help the Gunners earn first place in their group and increase their chances of going further in Europe’s elite club tournament.