Arsenal have learned to our cost in recent years that finishing second in a Champions League group, despite being better than not getting out of the group at all, often means that you are drawn against a European giant like Bayern Munich or Barcelona in the next round.
So with our main rivals for top spot this year being PSG, the injury and form problems affecting the French champions at the minute is a big boost to our UCL campaign. Even without that, however, Arsene Wenger feels that the current Arsenal squad is better equipped to compete in this elite competition.
As he explained in an Arsenal.com report the boss feels that he now has a more mature and experienced crop of players to call upon, even though the Frenchman is not about to forget his principles of bringing through and giving chances to promising young players.
Wenger said, “I think we have a better chance, yes.
“I was used to playing with my younger squads when you build a stadium because you don’t have the resources. Now I have a team with more experienced players.
“The squad is between 24 and 30, basically. That’s where you have a good combination of physical strength and experience.
“But we want to keep giving chances to young players and get the mixture right. I say that with Hector sitting next to me!”
Our new German international centre back may be only 24-years old but he was in the Champions League with Valencia last season and has a World Cup winners medal to his name, while Granit Xhaka is even younger but already has nearly 50 international caps for Switzerland and has played over 30 games in Europe.
The new striker Lucas Perez is a bit different as he has never earned a full cap with Spain and has not played too much in European club competition, but at 28-years old he has a different sort of experience, so is Wenger right about this year’s squad and their ability to compete?