Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes that if his side are to win silverware this season then they will have to overcome the toughest pool of teams in the history of the Europa League.
The Gunners have two away goals in the bank and one foot in the last eight of the competition after securing an impressive 2-0 win away against AC Milan in the San Siro in last week’s first leg.
If Wenger’s men finish the job at Emirates Stadium tomorrow night then they could face Champions League regulars such as Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid or Marseille in the quarter-finals.
It is looking likely that Arsenal, who trail fourth-placed Liverpool by 12 points in the Premier League, will need to win the Europa League in order to qualify for next season’s Champions League, and Wenger has warned that plenty of tough opponents remain.
“If you look at the teams that are in the Europa League it is very strong,” said the Frenchman.
“We play Milan to have a chance to qualify for the quarter-final. You look who is in there and there is Milan, Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, all the French teams — some good French teams.
“You have many good teams in there and maybe this season this competition is at a higher level than ever.”
Wenger has a nearly-full squad to call upon for the Italians' visit, with only Alexandre Lacazette unavailable due to a knee injury and both Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal back in contention following short absences.
Victory over Milan would mark a third consecutive victory for Arsenal — a stark contrast to a wretched run of form that culminated in a fourth straight loss at Brighton earlier this month.
“Sometimes, when you have a negative spiral, it is difficult to get out,” said Wenger.
“That’s why it was important for us to turn the corner. It was important to get out of that.”