By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger has warned that no club has a divine right to be in the Champions League - including his own.
Arsenal have an outstanding record of qualifying for Europe's premier club competition. Since the start of Wenger's first full season as manager - 1997/98 - they have been champions three times, runners-up five times, third on one occasion and fourth twice. That remarkable consistency has brought Champions League football to North London for 11 consecutive seasons.
The only time Arsenal's place among the elite was seriously threatened was back in 2006 when they pipped Tottenham to fourth spot on the final day of their final campaign at Highbury. But this season is shaping up to be just as close with 'Big Four' gatecrashers Aston Villa hoping to open up a six-point lead on Arsenal with victory at Villa Park on Boxing Day.
Wenger still believes his team will book their Champions League spot as Premier League champions but knows that European football should not be taken for granted.
"If you look at Europe not many teams have in the last 10 years been in every year," he said.
"But in Europe this year AC Milan are in the Uefa Cup, they are not in the Champions League. Last year Bayern Munich played in the Uefa Cup, and they are not less prestigious clubs than any of the teams who play in the top four.
"But they didn't die. In sport you have to accept that nothing is guaranteed. Only because we achieve it every year do people think it is guaranteed. It is not guaranteed, it is down to your performances.
"I believe it is hard [to qualify] every year," added Wenger. "When we were in the  Final against Barcelona we qualified for the Champions League against Wigan on the last day of the season.
"It was always hard but I believe that we can still win the Premier League because no one has impressed me more. We haven't come out of a game and said 'Listen, they are untouchable this year.' That happens sometimes but nobody looks to be untouchable.
"The team with the biggest potential is Manchester United and it will depend how they come back into it and whether they drop points as well."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