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Wenger wants Arsenal to learn from past failures in Champions League

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has challenged Arsenal to learn from the sins of their Champions League last 16 failures past.

The luckless Gunners finally topped their Champions League group this term, only to draw German giants Bayern Munich in the last 16 for the third time in four years.

Arsenal are bidding to end a string of six successive last 16 exits from Europe's top competition - and Wenger has insisted the Gunners are now ready to heed all those harsh lessons from recent years.

"The last six years we have not come out of the last 16," said Wenger, speaking before yesterday's Champions League draw was made.

"They said God made the world in seven days, so this is the seventh day for us. And we have to get our special day."

The Frenchman admitted his side's Champions League low point came in the 2015 last 16 loss to Monaco. Arsenal went down 3-1 at home, before a 2-0 win in France saw Monaco progress on away goals.

This time Arsenal will enjoy the luxury of hosting the second leg after topping their group. And Wenger has called on his players to take full advantage.

The Gunners take on Everton in the Premier League at Goodison Park tonight, with Wenger hopeful Arsenal can return to Champions League action in February off the back of a fine domestic run.

"We are all here to change history; and to make history," said Wenger.

"So we have to change what happened before and make it better.

"Many times we've been in a position where we've played at home, wanted to make a difference and after 10 minutes we concede a goal and already you think 'huh'.

"This time the advantage we have is we play away from home first. And if we can keep our strengths away from home, that will allow us to think we can have a good first game and then finish the job at home.

"The year I feel we failed is against Monaco because we wanted to make the difference maybe too much in the first game.

"And even at 2-1 we conceded the third goal in the last minute of the game because we wanted to absolutely throw everything forward.

"So we have to show that we learned.

"The best way to have momentum is to go into the Champions League in a strong position in the league, so that the belief is high.

"So I'm convinced that is absolutely right, because I have experience of it.

"I am responsible for the results so I don't want to escape when I don't manage the expectations of people who love this club.

"Of course you feel guilty, because you always have to question yourself first, in your decision making, the way the game went.

"But I feel that's completely normal."

Manchester City were the first team drawn out yesterday and will face Monaco on February 21 and March 15.

City's director of football Txiki Begiristain was happy with his side's draw, but warned Monaco - who twice beat Tottenham en route to topping Group E and have scored 53 goals in 17 games in Ligue 1 - pose a tough test.

"We are happy to be here and we have avoided Real Madrid and Barcelona," Begiristain admitted.

"Monaco are playing probably the best football in France now. In a group with Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen they were top and they have young players and a lot of talent.

"It's a new adventure for everybody here and it is a good draw. We want to be offensive and play attacking football and Monaco want this (as well)."

Paris St Germain against Barcelona was arguably the pick of the remaining ties and PSG director of football Patrick Kluivert said: "We knew we could draw the biggest clubs in the world and now we have to face it.

"This is the draw and we can't hide but also, Barcelona have to watch out for us."

Barca's Spanish rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will face Napoli and Bayer Leverkusen respectively, while Benfica meet Borussia Dortmund and Porto take on Juventus.

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