Wenger: Premier League still strongest competition in Europe

Despite all four La Liga sides and all three Bundesliga teams progressing to the last 16 of the Champions League, the French coach is adamant that England have the best league
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the Premier League is still the best in Europe.

Despite four La Liga and three Bundesliga teams all progressing with relative ease into the last 16 of this season's Champions League, the Gunners boss is adamant that England boasts the superior talent.

Manchester City were knocked out of the competition at the group stage for the second season running, while holders Chelsea look highly likely to suffer the same fate in two weeks' time.

"I would still say England is the strongest, because in England if they want a player, they still get him," Wenger told reporters.

"As long as that [continues to] happen, you will be the most powerful in Europe. England is the best, because there's something more here.

"It is not only linked with what you see on the pitch, but how you experience football. That is what I believe deeply, and when I speak to the players they say exactly the same."

Arsenal beat Montpellier 2-0 on Wednesday night to advance out of the group stages for a 13th successive season, a record only Spanish giants Real Madrid can top.

However, despite their impressive run, the Frenchman admits advancing to the last 16 is becoming a tough task.

"Maybe we have less room, less margin than we had before when it was just a question of when we would qualify," he continued.

"Now German football has come up, Spanish football is there every year and some French clubs have come back like Paris Saint-Germain. It looks less obvious for us.

"I don't think we are getting worse. Manchester City have gone out, but you can objectively say they were in a difficult group and they are still a good side as they are top of the Premier League."

Wenger takes his Arsenal side to Aston Villa on Saturday and believes they are over their blip in form which saw them suffer a shock defeat to Norwich City last month.

"I hope we are over it. It is only coming with results," the French coach added.

"We were deeply shocked when we lost at Norwich, but since we have seen that they can beat other teams as well. I hope now we will be back to our normal level of confidence."