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Arsenal: Arteta embracing UCL pressure despite Wenger concerns

Mikel Arteta at Arsenal
© Ace Football

The Gunners will play in the Champions League for the first time since 2017.

Arsenal’s highly anticipated return to the UEFA Champions League after a seven-year absence has sparked a mix of excitement and concern.

The Gunners, who last competed in the Champions League during the 2016-17 season, face a demanding week ahead, with three pivotal fixtures in quick succession. 

They kick off with an away match against Everton this Sunday, followed by a home clash with Dutch side PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday. Just four days later, Arsenal squares off against their arch-rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, in the eagerly awaited North London derby.

Former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger recently voiced his concern about the impact of the Champions League on the team’s domestic performance, suggesting it could “cost points” in the Premier League. 

Nonetheless, Arteta remains unfazed, drawing parallels with their Europa League commitments from the previous season.

“It’s exactly the same as last year. We played every three days, but it was the Europa League. So the competition is different,” Arteta said on Friday.

“Obviously, the demands of that competition and the expectations are different, especially as we’ve been away from there for seven years. But it’s excitement.

“This is where we want to be. When you look at the fixtures and the games that we have to play, I think everybody’s really looking forward to it.”