Arteta desperate for Arsenal to top UEL group

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The Gunners confirmed their qualification from the first phase with a 1-0 victory over the Dutch giant last week, and a point at Philips Stadion would be enough to send them through as a group winner.

Whoever finishes second in Group A will face a two-legged play-off against one of eight sides dropping out of the Champions League, with potential opponents including Juventus and Barcelona.

Arteta is subsequently keen to avoid any additional hassle.

"Last week, we made the first step, which was to qualify for the next round. We need to win [on Thursday] because we want to finish first," the Spaniard said.

"This competition is getting harder and harder and how it looks today and what the possibilities are, it looks like the next round is going to be extremely competitive.

"That's why finishing first in the group and avoiding another two games is such an important thing for us."

Arteta, who will be without Marquinhos through illness for the trip to Eindhoven, also defended his decision not to rotate his squad more during the opening weeks of the season.

Arsenal has won 13 of its 15 matches across all competitions this term, though it was suggested the players looked fatigued during Monday 1-1 draw with Southampton.

"We don't have that many players," the Gunners boss said. "Even the players that we have, we are bringing four kids with us so we can make the squad.

"We need to put 11 players there, and they have to play. We cannot always change 10, 11 players every game."


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