Group H Kick-off 19-45 (BST)
Arsene Wenger’s “first objective” may be for Arsenal to qualify for the knockout rounds, but the Frenchman’s long-term target is to get his hands on the European Cup.
“We have been in the final, the semi-final, and I think we will eventually win it,” said Wenger ahead of Wednesday’s Group H visit of AZ Alkmaar.
‘We want to finish first in the group, but to be qualified in early November would be good, and that is our first objective. Although we have not won the Champions League, I consider us as an élite club because we are in the eight top-seeded teams in Europe. We have been in the final, the semi-final, and I think we will eventually win it.
“It does not concern me that I have never beaten (AZ coach) Ronald Koeman. I see it as Arsenal against Alkmaar. He organises his teams well, they fight well, but I’ve never been obsessed with these things. I’m confident we can do it, but we have to show that we can focus and play for each other every three days and prepare for all the games with the same attitude.
AZ coach Ronald Koeman admits he has fond memories of playing at Arsenal’s Emirate Stadium.
“It is a nice feeling to be back at this fantastic stadium,” he said. “I remember one moment very fondly, my success with PSV when we got a 1-1 draw that was enough to knock Arsenal out.
“Now we face the most difficult of the six matches in the group. We got a good result at home, so we are confident. We know our qualities but we respect Arsenal. They will put us under a lot of pressure, but the important thing is how we deal with that pressure.
“Individually the players will have to be at their best and we have to take the opportunity to rest when we can because Arsenal cannot keep up the pressure for the whole game.”