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Arsenal’s Champions League return meets with Arteta’s approval

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta described his side’s return to the Champions League as very positive after it wrapped up its Group B campaign on Tuesday with a 1-1 draw at Dutch league leader PSV Eindhoven.

Arsenal had already secured top spot in the group, and a place in the last-16, after thrashing RC Lens 6-0 at the end of last month.

The Gunners last competed in the Champions League in the 2016-17 season, reaching the last 16 before being thrashed 5-1 in both legs by Bayern Munich.

They returned to the competition this season after finishing runners-up in the Premier League to Manchester City, and won their group with 13 points, four more than second placed PSV.

“I think overall very, very positive, after six or seven years without being in the competition with a team that doesn’t have a lot of experience,” was Arteta’s assessment of the London club’s group campaign.

“I think we have competed very, very well. I really liked the approach of the team in every single game, the way we try to play and dominated the opponents.

“We’ve had some big results and big experiences as well… overall finishing first with a game to play we have to be really happy, close that chapter, leave it until February and make sure in February when that chapter opens up again we are in the best possible place to compete against another top side,” he told the post-match press conference.

Arteta made eight changes from the side that was beaten 1-0 by Aston Villa at the weekend.

“There were good moments, there were moments we lacked that cohesion and timings especially in the way we pressed against a really good side. When you don’t get the timings right, you have to defend awkward spaces and we had to do that a few times tonight which could have cost us the game,” he said.

“I’m really happy with the attitude and behaviour of every single player, how they tried and in the end we could’ve won it,” he added.

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