Wenger gunning to fill gap on CV
Published 01/10/2013 | 09:26
Manager Arsene Wenger feels Arsenal could emerge as serious contenders for the Champions League this season - provided they can get out of the toughest of groups which continues with the visit of Napoli on Tuesday night.
The Gunners host Rafael Benitez's side looking to record a second win in Group F which would put them in a strong position before the double-header with last season's beaten finalists, Borussia Dortmund.
With Arsenal now looking set to challenge again following the club-record £43million signing of Mesut Ozil which has helped them climb to the top of the Barclays Premier League, Wenger believes confidence of that illusive European title could grow with continued progress.
"It is something I miss that I will try to fight very hard to fill my CV with," said Wenger, whose last taste of silverware was the 2005 FA Cup.
"But you play against Barcelona, Bayern (Munich), Real Madrid - every year they are there with a chance.
"You always think 'let's do it' every year, and one year it will go for you, so let's hope it will be this year. The competition is higher than ever."
Wenger added: "If we get out of the group I would say we have a chance (to win the trophy) - but what we have to show is that we have the strength.
"It is difficult to predict because after the group stage, it is a cup (competition) and then it is about who is available who is fit and who isn't, you cannot plan."
Wenger has played down talk of his side already being in the driving seat for the Premier League title as "absolutely ridiculous".
Asked, though, if there was any weighting on domestic or European glory, and the Gunners boss replied. "You don't choose like that. You just want to do well.
"No matter what I get, I take it."
More pressing, though, is the immediate challenge presented by last season's Serie A runners-up, who have moved to strengthen the squad significantly following the £53million sale of Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain.
Benitez has brought in the likes of Arsenal target Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Callejon from Real Madrid and former Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina.
Napoli beat Dortmund 2-1 at home on Matchday One and have opened their domestic campaign with five wins and a draw from six Serie A games.
Wenger said: "We will be faithful to what we do in the Champions League and try to have the ball.
"We know as well that the way we stop them from counter attacking is vital as that is their strength."
Arsenal will again rely on France striker Olivier Giroud to lead the attack.
Wenger believes there is more to come from the former Montpellier frontman who arrived last summer.
The Arsenal manager said: "Giroud is already (one of the leading strikers in Europe). I just think will he improve, be better in all the aspects of his game? As long as all the aspects are there, the attitude is there as well, then at 27 you always think the best years are coming for him now."