Emirates Stadium

Next Game

Arsenal v Liverpool

Saturday, 04 April 2015, 12:45

Barclays Prem

St James' Park, Newcastle

Last Game

Newcastle 1 - 2 Arsenal

Saturday, 21 March 2015, 15:00

Barclays Prem

Arteta exclusive

Mikel Arteta outlines Arsenal's ambition to conquer Europe ahead of facing Bayern Munich.

Last Updated: 19/02/13 at 08:43

Mikel Arteta: 'My focus is the two legs against Bayern Munich and helping th

Mikel Arteta: 'My focus is the two legs against Bayern Munich and helping th

Arsenal's season has been horribly littered by inconsistency and their latest setback came at the weekend when they suffered FA Cup embarrassment at the hands of Blackburn Rovers.

It is a boyhood dream for any player to play in the Champions League final. To play at Wembley is extra special given the history of the stadium
Mikel Arteta

Another elimination at the hands of lower league opponents, in the wake of the League Cup humiliation against Bradford City, has added extra pressure on an already-troubled Arsene Wenger and the manager is being reminded of a wait for a trophy which dates back to 2005.

But Arsenal are still in this season's UEFA Champions League and on Tuesday host the last campaign's defeated finalists and four-time kings of Europe, Bayern Munich, at Emirates Stadium in the first leg of their last 16 tie.

Having failed to win Group B, Wenger and his players are facing a huge challenge against the Bundesliga's runaway leaders, who can boast a star-studded squad and will next season welcome the sought-after Pep Guardiola as their new manager.

But Mikel Arteta is confident and, here, Sky Sports exclusively learns of the midfielder's determination to conquer Europe.

What does the Champions League mean to you?

The Champions League is the greatest club football tournament in the world. Every player wants to play in it and it was one of the main reasons I joined Arsenal to test myself against Europe's best. There are no weak teams and each year it throws up a surprise. No-one could have predicted Celtic's victory over Barcelona in the group stages.

How much are you looking forward to facing Bayern Munich in the last 16?

Bayern Munich are a club with great history. They have won the Champions League four times and we have a lot of respect for the club and their players. As a player, you want to play against the best and we are looking forward to both legs. We will approach the game as we would any other game, though.

Who are the danger men you will have to beware when playing against Bayern Munich in the last 16 and why?

Bayern Munich have strength in all departments. You do not attract the likes of a Pep Guardiola without the lure of world-class players. We will have to be mentally strong against the likes of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, who are both real threats going forward.

How far can Arsenal go in the Champions League this season?

There is no reason why we cannot go all the way in the Champions League this season. Our focus for the time being, though, is the two legs against Bayern Munich. We take one game at a time and will ensure we are 100 per cent prepared for both games.

How does the mentality of a club change from the group stages to the knockout rounds?

As a professional, you approach every game the same whether it is a Champions League qualifier or the final itself. The Champions League is the ultimate test for any club team and at Arsenal we approach every game with the same preparation.

How do you address a two-legged tie? Is avoiding defeat vital in the first leg?

We always go out to win every match and that will certainly be the case in both legs. If we can prevent Bayern from scoring an away goal, we will put ourselves in a good position to progress to the next round. We need to make sure we are 100% focused from the first to the final whistle.

Champions League 2012/13Mikel Arteta
Appearances5
Minutes played450
Goal Attempts 
Goals0
Total shots0
Shooting accuracy0%
Goals-to-shots ratio0%
Blocked Shots0
Passing 
Goal assists1
Chances created (inc. assists)2
Passes398
Pass completion %93%
Crossing 
Crosses4
Cross completion %25%

How special would it be to play in the final at Wembley?

It is a boyhood dream for any player to play in the Champions League final. To play at Wembley is extra special given the history of the stadium. I was not able to play in the 2009 FA Cup final for Everton due to injury. So, I will be doing my very best to ensure the Arsenal fans will be making the short trip to Wembley on 25th May.

Who are the clubs to watch in this season's Champions League last 16 and why?

Any of the teams in the last 16 could realistically win the Champions League. There is no such thing as an easy game. Barcelona are the favourites given their recent success and, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, you cannot ignore their quality. For the time being, though, my focus is the two legs against Bayern Munich and helping the team win a trophy for the Arsenal fans.

What is the key to balancing European form with domestic form?

The Champions League can mean travelling long distances and playing midweek fixtures, which combined with the Premier League and FA Cup can really take its toll on the players. The key is our squad and the trust we have in our manager. The boss knows when to rest and play certain players.

Who is the toughest opponent you have faced in the Champions League and why?

I would have to say Andriy Shevchenko when he played for AC Milan. At his best, he was unbelievable. He was quick, intelligent and always a danger when he was on the ball.

What is your favourite memory/moment from Champions League history and why?

Making my Champions League debut for Paris Saint Germain in 2001 at the San Siro. Ten days before, I had played there for Barcelona reserves. So, to step back on to the pitch with the atmosphere of a sell-out San Siro was something I will never forget.

Mikel Arteta wears the PUMA King, available now at www.ProDirectSoccer.com. What's in your nature? To find out if you're a Control Freak like Arteta, head to www.facebook.com/PUMAfootball

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

hould have stayed because we carried him for 6.5 years. And then he has a breakthrough season, and was gone soon after. MU fans, you would be as disgusted had C Ronaldo left in 2007 and not 2009.

godof86
Is Van Persie Slipping Sadly Into The Night?

G

ood grief. Someone guessed that the form English player at the moment might be in his national side with some other players? And that's espionage? Now if they discovered that Emile Heskey was going to be in the starting line up.... at right back.... THAT would be espionage. Give it a rest Roy.

RogerRedHat
Hodgson hits out at Kane leak

H

e may get away with if Liverpool can swap the video with one of Skrtel dancing or something, but if they review the one shown on TV he's screwed.

hump3.
Skrtel denies violent conduct

Footer 365

Tottenham striker Harry Kane to make first England start in Italy

Harry Kane will make his first start for England in Tuesday night's friendly in Italy, Roy Hodgson has confirmed.

Southampton striker Graziano Pelle starts for Italy against England in Turin

Southampton striker Graziano Pelle has been handed a start for Italy in their friendly against England in Turin.

No Team GB football teams for 2016 Brazil Olympics

The FA has formally withdrawn its proposal to enter a Team GB Men’s and Women’s side at the 2016 Olympics.

Mail Box

Can Wenger Coach Young Players Anymore?

One Mailboxer wonders whether Wenger has still got ability to bring through young talent. Plus £50m for Sterling, stop being matey with footballers and Blackpool...

Forget About Flair And Play Like Greece

'Forget about flair and play like Greece' is one outsider's advice to the England national side, while an Arsenal fan wants to sell Theo Walcott to get Marco Reus.

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company