By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger is satisfied that his Champions League fixture list will NOT affect his assault on the Premier League title.
Arsenal will rack up the air miles during the Group Stage with trips to Dynamo Kiev, Fenerbahce and Porto. Wenger would prefer opponents closer to home than Ukraine, Turkey and Portugal but, significantly, Arsenal will host European opposition in the days before vital Premier League clashes with Manchester United and Chelsea in November.
Wenger knows that will aid his preparations for two of the biggest games of Arsenal's campaign but insists that much will also depend on the results his side muster in their first three Champions League group games.
"It's better [to be home] than away [before Premier League games] I must say but it depends as well on what kind of position you are in the group stage of the Champions League," said Wenger. "It depends on what sort of security you have in the Champions League group stage at that time.
"Basically for the quality of the Premier League it's good that so many teams are in Europe and they stay in for as long [as possible]. It evens a little bit the physical strain on all the teams in the Premier League."
On paper Chelsea have a more straightforward task in Europe - they face AS Roma, Bordeaux and Romanian debutants Cluj - and will be expected to qualify quickly. Wenger acknowledges that a flying start in Europe can help on the domestic front.
"It gives you an edge in the Premier League if you qualify early because you are not under stress to give absolutely everything in one important group game, the fourth, fifth or sixth. That could give you an edge," he admitted.
"But it is very difficult to predict as well that you will qualify early. For example Manchester United have Villarreal, we know by experience that to go to Villarreal is not easy.
"They finished in front of Barcelona last year while Celtic is always a difficult game for anybody in the Premier League."Copyright 2013 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 29 Aug 2008