Belfast Telegraph

Arsene Wenger: Arsenal are here to make history

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

Luckless Arsenal have 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 Monday'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."

Arsenal boss Wenger 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.

Arsenal take on Everton in Premier League action at Goodison Park on Tuesday night, 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 you think already 'huh'.

"This time the advantage we have is we play first away from home.

"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 absolutely to 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, that the belief is high.

"So I'm convinced that 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 first yourself, in your decision-making, the way the game went.

"But I feel that's completely normal."

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