By Richard Clarke
"It is only six miles to Wembley," said Arsène Wenger on the eve of Arsenal's Champions League opener. "But unfortunately it is a long way!"
European football's showpiece game will be played at the London stadium this season. It is an incentive, if one were needed, for all four English clubs to make up for the disappointments of the previous campaign when they failed to reach the final four.
"I still think the Premier League is the strongest in Europe," said the Frenchman ahead of Braga's visit to Emirates Stadium. "We have to show that last year was an accident.
"Unfortunately we went out against Barcelona, who were better than us over two legs. We have to come back and show we can compete with them. Overall I think it was an accident but we will see."
Wenger raised a laugh when he was asked how many of the English quartet were real contenders to win it.
"Four," he replied flatly.
He was more circumspect when asked who, in particular, were the best equipped.
"I don't know," he replied, "that is difficult to predict. The best equipped are the teams who are always in there, that means the three with the most experience. Tottenham can create a surprise maybe, I don't know, but the best equipped are Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal because we have always in the last ten years been in there.
"The mental side is an issue for everybody," Wenger went on. "The problem as well is that the level of competition is high and in the second part of the [Champions League] it becomes a real cup game. When it is a knockout it becomes a different competition - you have to have your best players available, the decisions to go for you and all that.
"We are always there, not far from Wembley. Quarters, Semi-Final, we've been there.
"The fact is the mental side is about believing we can do it. But it's too early to speak about winning it - let's qualify first."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source