Arsène Wenger

We are in it to win it but don’t forget Barcelona

Arsene Wenger

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Mesut Ozil celebrates his goal for Arsenal against Napoli (Reuters)

Mesut Ozil celebrates his goal for Arsenal against Napoli (Reuters)

Tuesday night's game against Borussia Dortmund is a real challenge for us in the Champions League. There are big consequences as if we beat Dortmund at home we will have a great chance to qualify so the game is very important.

We always take the Champions League very seriously – it is always our goal to win it.

I think the competition is quite different from when it started quite some time ago. When I first played in Champions League, two, maybe three teams could dream about winning it.

Nowadays, at the beginning of each season, 10 teams can dream about being the champion.

So, saying today, in October, that we will win it, is a bit presumptuous. But we have our chances, if we can qualify from this group.

There are the two Spanish teams, two Italian teams, and a French one that can seriously dream of winning the competition.

And you can't forget the German teams, which played the final last year. There are also four teams in England. So it is a bit of a lottery.

Our group is quite an even one. Some people say Marseille are the weak link but I think they have been judged too harshly. I have been following what they have done since they played against us, and they had a lot of tough games.

Against Bastia and against Saint-Etienne, it was very demanding. They played in Lorient on a synthetic field, and three days later, in Dortmund, against a very physical and mobile team.

I thought they had little chance, physically speaking, to recover but they still were up to the challenge and people were hard in their judgement of their performance even though they lost 3-0.

We managed to beat Napoli 2-0 in our last game and we enjoyed a very good first half before controlling the second without attacking as much.

In the Champions League, when you can score, and even more when you don’t concede, it is always very positive. It is always hard to keep a clean sheet against teams with such attacking skills and capacity.

One of the teams I'm surprised more people are not talking about this year is Barcelona which seems a strange thing to say.

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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Ajax in the Champions League at Camp Nou (AFP)

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Ajax in the Champions League at Camp Nou (AFP)

We used to say "After Barcelona, whose turn is it?” And all of a sudden, we start ruling them out?

They have not lost a single game in La Liga; they've won all of their games in the Champions League. But even so, nobody seems to be taking them seriously any more.

You cannot forget about them, they will be there near the end of the tournament.

The good thing for them is that Messi was injured in March last year. Now, he is injured in October. It means that he might not be injured in March, and it makes that team all the more dangerous.

They face AC Milan away on Tuesday night but even in the San Siro they are still the favourites. Milan doesn't look to have the same strength as they did last year. Milan have let good players go two years in a row. If you diminish your potential one year, it’s OK but if you do it two years in succession then you have to expect to pay the price.

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