Arsenal FC need suffered a irritating summer on the transfer front , but , after a powerful finish to 2012/13 and with Jack Wilshere fit , expectations of a 16th consecutive UEFA Champions League campaign are large.
Arsène Wenger's team go to Istanbul on Wednesday to meet Fenerbahçe SK in the 1st leg of the play-offs , trying to obtain a big step regarding maintaining a proud score .Together with Manchester United FC ( planning their 18th successive group stage ) and Real Madrid CF ( 17th ), Arsenal are certainly one of just 3 clubs ever-present in Europe's best club competition this century .
Wenger was at the helm all through as he goes into his 18th season at Arsenal – his addiction , a club as near his heart as it is his first name . However it is often a complex summer , with the manager's affirmation that "we will be active" in the transfer market thus far unrealised . To date the club have got included just 20-year-old striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from AJ Auxerre .
Essentially , however , Wenger has not needed to handle a high-profile departure each – Robin van Persie , Alex Song and Cesc Fàbregas all left over the last 2 summers .Additionally there is momentum from their form finally of previous season , which Arsenal finished 11 games unbeaten , and the fact that midfield keystone Wilshere has enjoyed his 1st injury-free pre-season since 2010 .
The England midfielder , nevertheless not 100% fit based on Wenger , is desirous to make an idea . "We feel we have a great squad , as we showed towards the end of last season , when we went 11 games unbeaten ," he told Sport magazine . "If we can reproduce that form then we have a chance . When we had to get results , we went out there and got them , and that's what we need to take into this season .
"Arsenal used to be a team that won everything – trophies and titles , but now we haven't won anything for eight years , so we know what we have to do . It is time to start producing trophies and being closer to the top of the league at the end of the season . We don't just want to be fighting for fourth place – we want to be up there with the likes of Chelsea , Manchester City and Manchester United . We feel we are good enough to be there ."
Objects failed to begin properly , but , with the Gunners starting their Premier League campaign with a 3-1 home beat by Aston Villa FC on Saturday . They might minimumdraw a positive outlook from the point that they prevailed in their 2 former play-offs , against Celtic FC in 2009/10 and Udinese Calcio the season before previous , andregardless of the absence of the injured Thomas Vermaelen they are going to be assured of constructing it 3 . In fact , this really is the Arsenal team that gave all-conquering FC Bayern München a huge scare last term – pretty much to a man .
Play-offs, Wednesday 21.08.201:
Fenerbahce 19:45 Arsenal
Dinamo Zagreb 19:45 Austria Wien
Schalke 19:45 PAOK
Ludodorets 19:45 Basel
Steaua 19:45 Legia