Arsene Wenger was in now way suggesting that Arsenal should take it easy in our Champions League group game at home to PSG tonight, as he has called on his players to finish the job they have started by already securing a place in the next round by getting the result against the French champions to make sure that we finish on top of group A.
The boss did also speak candidly about the pros and cons of finishing first or second, as reported by Arsenal.com, and it is clear that although he wants to win the group for a number of reasons, he is far from certain about it actually helping Arsenal to get a better draw in the knockout stage.
He said, “I read this morning that Real Madrid are not sure whether it’s good to finish first or second! The problem is that if you finish second and get a bad draw, everybody says, ‘that’s your fault’. You want to finish first, knowing that. Is there an actual difference? I don’t know in a group of Real Madrid or Dortmund. The other groups might look at ours and think, ‘Paris Saint Germain or Arsenal – who is better? I don’t know’.
“But we want to finish first because we want to win the game. I think more than speculating, it’s more important for us to do the job. When you play at home against a big team, you want to win. When I tell you that we have been a bit stuttering recently, we played Tottenham, were 1-0 up and didn’t win the game, so we need to show that we can do that.
“I think we want to show that we can beat any style of team. That’s what we have done since the start of the season. We play a team with a different style, a team who play possession, slow and quick. We have to show that we can cope with that because they play a lot of possession and then suddenly they play quick with Cavani, Lucas Moura, they can accelerate a game. We have to show we can deal with that style, a different style to what we are used to. In England, we always play with power.
“Monaco aside and we failed against Monaco and that is why I never forget that. But I don’t know. I feel guilty when we finish second and have a difficult tie. Let’s finish first and at least we have the advantage to play the second game at home. Hopefully we will be injury free and have everyone available.”
But Wenger also suggested that he thinks the strongest team in the competition is Real Madrid and barring some sort or miracle and a disaster for Borussia Dortmund the Spanish giants are going to finish as runners up.
He said, “Yes. I must say that I watched Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid on Saturday and I was impressed by them. They looked at the moment to be the most dangerous side.”
It is not just Real Madrid either, because other clubs that could be in the second pot for the draw and that Arsenal could face if we finish top include Bayern Munich or Atletico Madrid, Porto, Napoli and Juventus or Sevilla. So is it really so important for the Gunners to finish first?