LONDON (Reuters) - Apart from when German clubs are in town, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium has been a fortress in the Champions League and manager Arsene Wenger says that must continue if his side are to continue their run of reaching the last 16.
The Gunners have got past the group stage for the past 14 seasons, a proud record largely built on seeing off the kind of opposition they face on Wednesday when Galatasaray are the visitors to north London.
Arsenal were outclassed by Borussia Dortmund a fortnight ago in a 2-0 away defeat, meaning they can afford no slip-up against the Turkish side in their second Group D game.
While highly critical of his side’s performance in northern Germany, Wenger knows they are a different proposition on home soil where until a 2-0 loss to Schalke 04 in 2012 they had gone 45 home games unbeaten when facing non-English opponents.
Since then Bayern Munich (twice) and Dortmund have won at The Emirates but it has not been a happy hunting ground for teams from other countries.
”You want to win your home games. You need one good result away from home and then win all your home games,“ Wenger told reporters on Tuesday. ”The group stage is a minimum of 10 points so the home games are vital.
”We had a disappointing result in Dortmund and at the moment I feel that the potential is there for us.
”We don’t lose a lot but we want to find the winning edge together and we have that opportunity (on Wednesday).
“It’s early but we are maybe more under pressure to win the game than if we had won the first.”
Galatasaray have never won a match in England but their Swiss midfielder Blerim Dzemaili says they will put that sorry statistic out of their minds on Wednesday.
“It will be important to play as a team, to defend strongly and to play our game. Not to be afraid,” he said.
“We have to respect Arsenal -- that’s important -- but not to be afraid because I think we have a good team. We can play against every team and I think it’s going to be in our hands.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris