Found October 31, 2011 on Fox Soccer:
PLAYERS: Stan Kroenke
The Gunners will qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League with a win over the French club at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night. Arsenal's renaissance hit a new peak on Saturday when they stunned Chelsea with a 5-3 victory at Stamford Bridge. They have now won eight of their last nine games and are within three points of the Premier League top four after recovering from a dreadful start. Wenger's men have saved their best form for Europe this year and they will all but secure qualification from Champions League Group F if they beat Marseille and Olympiacos fail to beat Borussia Dortmund in Germany. However dazzling Saturday's victory - which came in front of new majority shareholder Stan Kroenke - Wenger is reluctant to let his team get carried away with the win and has called on his young squad to show they can produce that type of performance on a regular basis. "We have now to forget about Chelsea, carry on, and prove that we can keep doing the job," Wenger said. "We want just to qualify. Our job is to forget about the last game, take the positives out of it, and focus on the next one just as we had to do when we lost 8-2 to Manchester United." The win at Stamford Bridge, which came thanks partly due to a stunning hat-trick from Robin van Persie, put Arsenal within seven points of second-placed Manchester United, leading some to suggest the Gunners can now start calling themselves serious title challengers again despite their poor start. The Arsenal boss, perhaps mindful of how poorly his team played early on this season, played down those expectations, however, saying: "We need much more consistency in our results before we claim that (we are title contenders). "We are closer to the Champions League places now. The next step is to come back closer to the top four of the league before we do that. "It's our deep desire (to challenge for the title), but we need some time to get back in a stronger position before we claim that. "We are in October and we still have a lot of margin to improve." Despite his caution, Wenger has been boosted by the return of key players from injury recently, most notably Thomas Vermaelen, who could make his first start in over two months on Tuesday. In the club's last Champions League home game, Wenger chose to leave van Persie on the bench to rest him for the club's north London derby at Spurs the following weekend. But with the Dutchman's confidence sky high after firing in seven goals in his last four matches, Wenger is unlikely to do the same tomorrow night. "It's hard to take a player out when he is playing so well," Wenger said. "It's very hard to explain to the rest of the team that you are not going to play Van Persie when he has scored so many recently. "When a player is playing so much confident football it's difficult to take him out. "He is kind of always a victim of his success." Aaron Ramsey scored an injury-time winner when Arsenal and Marseille met in the reverse fixture three weeks ago. Despite being poor in quality, Arsenal had a few clear-cut chances to win the game and should have put the game beyond doubt before injury time. The French team went into that match on the back of a poor run of form but, like Arsenal, they have picked up recently, leading Wenger to expect a tougher game at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday. "They have the team which certainly is more at ease away from home than at home," Wenger said. "They are a side who can defend well and are very physical. They have gained confidence and they will be out to hit us on the counter-attack tomorrow."
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