By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger expects to see a very different Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night.
The Ukrainian champions arrived in London a fortnight ago with a glowing reputation after registering two wins out of two in Champions League Group H. They did look lively in the early stages at Emirates Stadium but gave away a soft opening goal to Alex Song and crumbled to a 5-1 defeat.
Wenger is not counting on another walkover at the Donbass Arena but, equally, he wants his team to secure the result that would book them a place in the knockout stages.
"I expect Shakhtar Donetsk to have a reaction of course and a response from that heavy defeat," said Wenger. "They are a better side than what they have shown at the Emirates. For me they are one of the best European sides.
"On the other hand we have a good opportunity to qualify straight away and finish top of the group and you want to take that chance. I believe as well we want to confirm that we are stepping up a gear from game to game and that we are capable of being consistent and that is what is at stake for us."
Arsenal have visited Donetsk once before, losing 3-0 in the group stage of the Champions League in November 2000. Wenger is reading very little into that result from a decade ago.
"It is always a difficult place [to get a result]," he said. "For example before you always had special weather, special pitches and special conditions to travel so it was always a difficult side to play.
"But I must say the last time we played at Shakhtar we were already qualified and of course the focus was not exactly the same than if you have to play for qualification."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