Arsene Wenger says his Arsenal side would take the Europa League seriously

Arsene Wenger says his Arsenal side would take the Europa League seriously if they drop out of the Champions League.

The Gunners entertain Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night with their hopes of progressing from Group F hanging in the balance after three defeats from their opening four games.

Arsenal know they must win to keep any chance of getting out of the group stages alive and, even then, anything other than a victory for Bayern Munich over Olympiakos in Germany would see Wenger's side eliminated.

However, they could finish third and drop into the Europa League.

In the past, the Europa League has been treated as a lower priority by a number of English clubs, but Wenger would follow in the footsteps of clubs on the continent.

"We would take the competition seriously -- but we are not out [of the Champions League] yet," he said.

"I believe that this problem is exaggerated a little bit in England because we play Wednesday and Saturday, so it is the same as Thursday and Sunday. I can't see the difference.

"There are plenty of examples in Portugal and Spain where teams have taken it seriously and won the championship. Benfica are the example, Sevilla have done well."

Wenger also rebuffed suggestions that Bayern and Olympiakos could play out a draw at the Allianz Arena that would see both sides qualify at Arsenal's expense.

"If Bayern don't win they could still be second in the group because they go to Zagreb where they can lose," he said.

"In front of their crowd they will want to win. That will be really Machiavellian to think they will deliberately lose [sic] to get us out."

Arsenal's stuttering Champions League campaign started with a 2-1 defeat in Zagreb, with Olivier Giroud sent off.

After the match, Dinamo midfielder Arijan Ademi failed a drugs test and has since been handed a four-year ban by UEFA.

24/11/15

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