PARIS: Arsene Wenger will be walking on familiar shaky ground when he leads Arsenal to the San Siro for a must-win clash against on-form Inter Milan in their Group B Champions League clash today.
Despite their scintillating form in the Premiership, Arsenal are facing another early exit from Europe's premier competition if they fail to claim all three points against the on-form Italians today.
Still unbeaten in their domestic trials, Arsenal's 13th consecutive victory on Saturday represented the best league start of any team since the Premiership was launched in 1992-93.
But while Wenger's team look set to challenge for another domestic title, they regularly limp off Europe's biggest club stage.
A daunting task lies ahead, especially as Inter – who humiliated Arsenal 3-0 at Highbury in September – will book their place in the last 16 if they win.
Inter's 6-0 f gina on Saturday – with all goals coming from different players – is proof of their strength in depth.
“I am starting to see the right spirit,” said Zaccheroni after his third win since replacing the sacked Hector Cuper last month.
Wenger vowed his side will be ready.
“When I look back every game has been difficult and the team have shown remarkable strength and been focused in every match,” he said.
“There is a kind of strength about this team when they are in trouble and I am very proud of them.”
In Group A German champions Bayern Munich face Celtic in Glasgow knowing that anything less than a point could spell disaster.
Ottmar Hitzfeld's side laboured to a 1-0 win at the weekend over 1860 Munich and face an on-form Celtic side who are keen to get a win under their belt to secure their first appearance in the knockout phase.
Like Inter, Celtic are knocking in the goals for fun in the league – and a 5-1 rout of Dundee United on Saturday, thanks to a Chis Sutton hat-trick and a double from Henrik Larsson, solved Martin O'Neill's dilemma of who to play up front against the German champions.
Celtic's UEFA Cup final appearance last season has proven their European pedigree but midfielder Neil Lennon believes the Glasgow giants can outdo that achievement.
“If we were to make it through the group stages it would be as big as anything we have achieved as a team – and I include getting to the UEFA Cup final.
“This is the platform that you want to be judged on.”
Bayern are set to be without Sebastian Deisler, Mehmet Scholl and Alexander Zickler, while Ze Robeto returned from Brazil duty with a bad back.
Like Arsenal, defeat for Bayern would prove disastrous – as general manager Uli Hoeness admits.
“Crashing out of the competition so early on again would be fatal,” said Hoeness. “Glasgow will be a heated encounter and we need at least a point.”
Goalkeeper and captain Oliver Kahn added: “We know it is a vital game for us. A good horse jumps highest when it needs to. We are Bayern and we're going to Glasgow looking to win.”
In other matches Group A leaders Lyon travel to bottom team Anderlecht knowing that a win will see them through to the next phase.
Lokomotiv Moscow will be hoping for home advantage to help them relaunch their bid to stay in the competition when they host Dynamo Kiev, who are second in Group B.
In Group C, Monaco seek to build on their Champions League record 8-3 drubbing of Deportivo La Coruna when they host PSV Eindhoven. A victory would secure Monaco's appearance in the knockout phase.
Deportivo La Coruna, who sit second behind the on-form French league leaders, are favourites to get back in contention with full points at home against AEK Athens.
Juventus' Group D match against Galatasaray has been postponed until Dec 2 in the wake of last week's bombings in Istanbul. – AFP