Jack Wilshere would not be disappointed with a 0-0 draw against Bayern Munich - because away goals can be priceless in the Champions League.
Arsenal found that to their cost last season when they won 2-0 in Germany and drew 3-3 on aggregate, only to go out by virtue of conceding three times in the first leg at Emirates Stadium.
A slow start allowed Bayern to take advantage on that occasion and Wilshere is urging Arsenal to adopt a more cerebral approach to this year's tie.
"If it is 0-0 at home we still have a big chance of qualifying, because the away goal is massive"
"We have spoken about the importance of staying in the game," he said. "If it is 0-0 at home we still have a big chance of qualifying, because the away goal is massive, especially in this competition when it comes to these big games.
"You saw it last year when we went out on away goals. So this year we have to be a bit more intelligent and stay in the game.
"I think we were a bit nervous going into it last year. We had lost to Blackburn the weekend before [in the FA Cup] and there was a lot of tension in the stadium as it was a big game.
"Once we calmed down a bit we took the game to them and we created chances. Their third goal was a lucky goal and that killed us a bit but this year we will be intelligent going into the game. First of all we will work on our defensive duties and then we will play."
Arsenal's defensive record this season bodes well. Steven Gerrard's penalty for Liverpool on Sunday was the first time in 695 minutes that Wenger's team had been breached on home soil, and Wilshere thinks another clean sheet is within their reach.
"We have a great defence here," he said. "Thomas Vermaelen doesn’t play, so that shows how good we are. We have competition at the back and they have been great this season. Flamini adds a bit of steel in midfield, so defensively we are confident and we know we can create chances with the players we have got.
"Arteta has been great too," added Wilshere. "He lets more attacking players go forward, and you have to remember that at Everton he was a No 10, he used to go forward, so he has changed his game. Flamini loves that side of the game, running around and tackling. They give us a good basis to go from."
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.