Arsenal, unbeaten in England this season, begin their new UEFA Champions League campaign at home against PSV Eindhoven.
Arsene Wenger’s side began last year’s competition disastrously, losing 3-0 at home to Internazionale. They recovered to reach the knock-out stages but the memory of that defeat still haunts manager Arsene Wenger.
“We rushed it a little bit and went into the Champions League thinking we had to make a difference and that we had to do well in Europe because we had not done well before,” Wenger recalled.
“We forgot the basics. We were too much in a rush to score goals and we have to learn from that.”
Wenger’s team have won all five of their Premiership fixtures so far, scoring 19 goals in the process.
“It looks like we are slowly getting into our pace,” said the Arsenal boss.
“We have a good momentum in the league and we want to take that into the Champions League.”
Fredrik Ljungberg is a slight concern with a back problem but is expected to play. Jose Antonio Reyes is expected to return to the starting line-up in place of French international Robert Pires.
PSV coach Guus Hiddink, who at the weekend celebrated his 150th Eredivisie victory with a 1-0 win against RKC Waalwijk, can no longer rely on the pace and goalscoring skills of Mateja Kezman and Arjen Robben, who have both joined Chelsea.
Nonetheless, Hiddink believes his team are a more “capable” team now. How to stop Arsenal, though? Not by relying on defensive measures, declared the coach.
“We are not capable of defending like the Italian teams and if we want any chance of getting a result we must take some initiatives,” Hiddink said.
He will be without defender Kasper Bogelund, sidelined for six weeks with a thigh injury, but can otherwise select from a full squad.