Wenger wary of going backwards

Gunners boss aware that 'crisis' can strike at any time

Arsene Wenger: In confident mood ahead of European showdown with AC Milan

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Arsene Wenger is aware that Arsenal are entering a crucial period, with English clubs only ever one game away from plunging into a 'crisis'.

The Gunners are readying themselves for the first leg of an eagerly-anticipated clash with AC Milan in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

With Manchester rivals United and City having already crashed out of the competition, Arsenal and Chelsea now lead the Premier League charge.

Both the Gunners and the Blues have suffered alarming wobbles this season, with Andre Villas-Boas' side currently struggling for form.

Wenger is aware of the need to ensure that Arsenal do not find themselves back in a similar situation, having started the campaign slowly, and knows their next few games could make or break their season.

Cautious

"You could say that the crisis at the moment in England is a bit like fire. It moves very quickly from one club to another," said the Frenchman.

"It's a fire with strong wind so you have to be a bit cautious because it can quickly come back. The wind can blow it quickly back."

Arsene Wenger

Quotes of the week

"It's a fire with strong wind so you have to be a bit cautious because it can quickly come back. The wind can blow it quickly back.

"This is the important time for us. Before the week started, I said that this week would be vital for us. It's down to us to do well and hopefully we will do it."

AC Milan will pose a considerable test to Wenger and his Arsenal side on Wednesday, with the reigning Serie A champions having clambered back to the summit of their domestic division last weekend.

Wenger, though, is convinced that the Italian giants can be toppled in their own backyard, with the Gunners entering their midweek showdown in confident mood having made domestic progress of their own - with a weekend win over Sunderland returning them to the Premier League's top four.

Confidence

"If I would think we have no chance to win the game I would stay at home. I don't like to waste my time," he said.

"I believe what makes football interesting is that you can win everywhere.

"We have shown we can win everywhere and I have full confidence in this team that we can do it.

"We will try to play our game. Milan are a good side. We think we are a good side.

"We will attack, they certainly will as well. So it should be a good game."