Champions League | Arsene Wenger pushes Arsenal to go for top spot

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Champions League | Arsene Wenger pushes Arsenal to go for top spot

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Amol Sengupta

09/28/2016

Ahead their clash against Basel, today, in the Champions League, Arsene Wenger has stressed on the need for Arsenal to not just qualify but finish on top of the group, something they have failed to do in recent times. The Gunners are heading into the game on the back of a memorable win over Chelsea.

Since the turn of the millennium, Arsene Wenger has guided the team through the first group stage in every single year without fail. Arsenal reached the final in the 2006 season but have since failed to replicate that form as they have failed to move past the last-16 in the last six years, largely thanks to their uncanny ability to finish below the top spot in the group, thereby letting themselves be drawn against the continental powerhouses in their first knockout round.

But Arsene Wenger hopes that Arsenal stay on course to end at the top of the table this season after negotiating a draw in a difficult opener away against Paris Saint-Germain.

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

Wenger also looked back at Arsenal's poor opening game in the last season when they lost to Greek side Olympiakos at the Emirates.

"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," Wenger added.

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

Despite crossing the PSG hurdle, Wenger is not ready to let down his guard against Basel today.

"They are a team who are used to playing in the Champions League," he said.

"It's not a newcomer or a beginner in the Champions League, they have huge experience in the competition.

"This experience goes through the generations and this is why they're not intimidated. I don't expect them to be intimidated at all.

"On the other hand, they have nothing to lose. That's always dangerous," he said.

Arsenal could have some inside advantage on the night as they look to field Granit Xhaka, who has played for Basel earlier, after Francis Coquelin's injury in the match against Chelsea has ruled him out.

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