Schalke v Arsenal: Bacary Sagna still focused on sealing top spot

Bacary Sagna insists Arsenal are determined to top their Champions League group ahead of trip to Schalke

bacary sagna
Bacary Sagna recently returned from a long-term leg injury Photo: Doha Stadium Plus, via Flickr

bacary sagna

Bacary Sagna insists Arsenal are determined to finish first in their Champions League group ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Schalke.

The Gunners dropped into second place in Group B following their 2-0 defeat by the Bundesliga side at Emirates Stadium last month.

A win at the Veltins Arena on Tuesday will move Arsene Wenger’s men back above the German outfit – and the France defender admits it is crucial the Londoners do all they can to top the group to avoid playing a side that finished first in the next round.

“We are professional footballers and we want to finish first,” Sagna told a news conference.

“We want to win the maximum amount of games. This is big challenge now to be the best in the group.

“But as players we always want to be the best. It would mean we play against a team who finish second in their group.

“But at this stage of the competition every team is good. So we have to keep focused on our team, keep going and keep working hard.”

Schalke v Arsenal: Pre-match facts

• The teams met in the 2001-02 group stage when the coaches were, as now, Arsene Wenger and Huub Stevens. Arsenal won 3-2 at home but lost 3-1 in Gelsenkirchen.

• Schalke have lost their last two home contests with English sides and not scored in three. They went down 2-0 to both Manchester United in the 2010-11 semi-final first leg and Manchester City in the 2008-09 Uefa Cup group stage. Their home record against English teams reads W3 D1 L2.

• Their win at Montpellier was only Arsenal’s third in 13 away matches in the competition proper, a run that includes eight defeats.

• Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Thomas Vermaelen were team-mates at Ajax from January 2006 to January 2009.

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