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Wenger: Play-off suits Arsenal

SoccerNews in English Premier League 19 Aug 2014

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said their packed schedule due to a UEFA Champions League play-off is a plus for the London club.

The wider viewpoint of the side finishing fourth in England, and thus forced to play a two-legged play-off to enter the European tournament’s group stages, is that the extra fixtures are unwanted burdens in an already full-up fixture list.

Arsenal are in Turkey to tackle Super Lig side Besiktas on Tuesday, but Wenger said his men were embracing the chance to find form – despite having to back up at Everton on Saturday.

“Every game you win makes you stronger and, on that front, winning the games helps to gain confidence,” Wenger told the club’s official website.

“The group still needs to grow and to gain confidence we have to grow.

“[The play-off is] not affecting too much my transfer policy. Financially it is a big game but it’s not that that’s the most important [matter].

“We want to compete at the top level, we want to fight against the best in Europe and that’s the real target of the competition tomorrow.

“It’s more than the financial consequences.

“We have always in the history of the club adapted to our financial potential but what is very important is that we want to play with the best. That’s the real target of the qualifier.”

Wenger also confirmed defender Kieran Gibbs was absent from the first leg of the play-off due to a hamstring problem, while striker Yaya Sanogo was also sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Midfielder Mathieu Flamini, meanwhile, overcame illness to join the squad.

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