Jack Wilshere is using Wednesday night’s Champions League win as the benchmark for their next European games, and is aiming to win their upcoming home matches to help qualify top of their tough group.
The Gunners finished off a resilient Marseille 2-1 thanks to goals from Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey, while last year’s finalists Dortmund’s suffered defeat in Naples. Wilshere feels the group is wide open for the taking and is aiming to maintain their fantastic run of form with the games coming thick and fast for the Gunners.
The England international reportedly said after his sides victory in France:
Dortmund losing does open it up a bit.
We have got two home games now [against Napoli and Dortmund] and they are tough teams, but if we play to our full potential in front of our fans, we should be able to win those games.
If we win them both, we are sitting on nine points going into the last three games and that is a good position to be in.
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We also have Dortmund and Napoli away and away games are always tough but we want to finish top of the group.
In the first game, if you can’t win it you make sure you don’t lose it but we won so it is a great start.
We know it is only a great start because it is a tough group – Napoli beat Dortmund so any team can beat any other in this group so we have to be ready for the next game.
Arsenal’s win over Marseille earned Wenger’s in-form side a record tenth consecutive away win, a new club record. They responded magnificently to their opening day defeat to Aston Villa in the Premier League and have since won every match to come their way.
Wilshere feels the Gunners have done well to battle for the full 90 minutes and have responded to the Villa loss by carrying on their superb form from the end of last season.
The England international continued:
At the end of last season we knew we had to get that fourth position and I said at the start of the campaign we had to take that into this year.
We started off badly, losing at home, but we picked it up since.
We won at Fulham away, which is not easy, and we have had some good away wins. The last 10 away games we have won but they have not been easy.
Some games we had to hold out right until the end and in other games we have killed it off early.
We are on a good run at the moment but we know we have got to keep that going.
Arsenal have been able to find consistency within their performances and results mainly due to the fact that a similar XI has been fielded for most of the games this season. Injuries have struck them down, but the depth within the midfield have aided them well enough so far. With a home game against Stoke on the weekend, the Capital One Cup in mid-week will surely call for rotation especially for the likes of Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil and Walcott.
But as Wilshere said they have to keep the momentum going and continue to finish off games as they have managed to recently. That is the difference between third/fourth place and a title winning team.