Arsene Wenger wants his Gunners to top their Champions League group

Arsene Wenger wants his Gunners to top their Champions League group

Arsene Wenger wants Arsenal to maintain their momentum in today's Champions League match against Basle at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners have made it through the group stage's of Europe's leading club competition for the past 16 years - but they have failed to get beyond the round of 16 in their previous six attempts.

One of the problems has been their inability to finish in top spot in their group, leaving them open to face some of Europe's biggest names - but the Gunners go into the contest on the back of a 3-0 Premier League win over Chelsea.

Barcelona eased past Wenger's side last year but, after fighting to a draw at Paris St Germain in their opening game of Group A, the Frenchman is hoping that can lead to advancing as group winners and avoiding the rest of Europe's elite.

"It's our target but the truth is on the pitch," he said.

"We had a good game on Saturday but let's show that we can go from good game to good game and put the effort in, in every single game.

"That's what it is about, as you said in recent years we came always out of the group stage.

"Last year, let's say it was difficulties because we made it difficult for ourselves and we have learned as well that in the group stage it's not only important to qualify but, if possibly, qualify as top of the group.

"It gives you many more chances after to go through."

While PSG will be considered to be the main rivals to Wenger's ambitions of winning the group the 66-year-old, who celebrates 20 years in charge at Arsenal on October 1, acknowledges that Wednesday night's opposition can cause an upset.

Summer signing Granit Xhaka, a former Basle player, could make just his third Arsenal start as he is likely to be drafted in for the injured Francis Coquelin.

The Switzerland international replaced Coquelin after he suffered a knee injury in Saturday's 3-0 win, but Wenger revealed the prognosis of the Frenchman's injury was better than first expected.

Wenger said: "He is out of the game but it should be a short-term injury because the scan was quite positive and I think it will be three weeks out.

"It's positive because last year during this period we got some bad news and a few long-term injuries and it was a handicap in our season.

"After you play always the same players and you lose a little bit of your edge physically. The fact is we have a compact squad, but of top quality, so to keep everybody together is a big plus."


More in this Section

Liverpool, Man City and Celtic fined by UEFALiverpool, Man City and Celtic fined by UEFA

Brendan Rodgers defends James Maddison over casino controversyBrendan Rodgers defends James Maddison over casino controversy

'It was a mad month': League winner Michael Duffy named player of the month for September'It was a mad month': League winner Michael Duffy named player of the month for September

O’Sullivan’s latest Crawley complaints dismissed by tournament organisersO’Sullivan’s latest Crawley complaints dismissed by tournament organisers


Lifestyle

Sexual politics, snideput-downs and family rivalries are fuelling the trouble brewing in a small Midlands town.Charlie Murphy and Pat Shortt star in new Irish film 'Dark lies the Island'

Robert Hume tells of the eccentric MP for Athboy, Co. Meath – born 300 years ago this month – who thought he was a teapot, and was afraid his spout might break off.A strange brew of a man: The MP for Meath who believed he was a teapot

Ladysbridge and District Flower and Garden Club will meet on Monday at 8pm in Garryvoe Hotel.Gardening Notes: Your one-stop guide to the week's events

Don’t forget to lavish roses with the attention they deserve this winter, urges Hannah StephensonDon’t forget to lavish roses with the attention they deserve this winter

More From The Irish Examiner