Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger calls for his team to avoid the 'crisis' in English football ahead of 'vital' week for club

The Frenchman says his side must carry their momentum into the clashes with Milan and Sunderland, while tipping the departing Thierry Henry to sign off in style at the San Siro

Arsene Wenger has warned his Arsenal side they must continue their good form at home and abroad to avoid the ‘crisis’ in English football as they prepare to take on AC Milan in the Champions League tonight.

The Gunners have endured a rollercoaster campaign themselves, yet now appear to be back on track as they resume their Champions League challenge in fourth place in the Premier League.

London rivals Chelsea, however, are not experiencing such good times and Wenger is keen for his side to keep their momentum going as he is aware it is a problem which could soon spread to the Emirates Stadium.

"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,” Wenger told reporters.

"It's like a fire with strong wind, so you have to be a bit cautious because 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.

"We have to show that now. It's down to us to do well and hopefully we will do it."

Wenger’s men currently sit fourth in the Premier League, ahead of the Blues on goal difference but a massive ten points off third-placed Tottenham.

Despite the gap, Wenger is adamant his side can catch their north London rivals, though he claims Arsenal’s participation in other competitions will hinder their chances.

"Mathematically, we can catch Tottenham but the disadvantage is that they play nowhere - they are out of the Europa League, they just play the FA Cup and the championship and have much more rest than the other teams," the Frenchman admitted.

"We have two vital games and then we play Tottenham at home. After that game then we will know more."

The Gunners face current Serie A front runners AC Milan in the second round of the Champions League tonight.

The last time the two sides met, Wenger’s men pulled off a superb 2-0 victory against the then-European champions, and the Frenchman is confident his side can repeat the feat despite the drastic change in personnel at the club since that triumph.

"When we played here, Milan had won the European Cup the year before and we knocked them out," Wenger recalled.

"We had an up and coming team that was full of confidence and a very young side as well.

"Since we have of course lost some players, but I feel we are again a strong team now.

"We are a team who is rebuilding confidence and I believe as well that this game will be important for that."

One man sure to be named in the squad for the trip to the San Siro is Thierry Henry.

Should the Frenchman participate in the match it will be his last appearance for Arsenal before heading back to parent club New York Red Bulls.

Wenger has praised the 34-year-old’s attitude and commitment to the club and says it is not beyond him to produce a fairytale ending at the San Siro.

He continued: “Thierry has produced a lot of special moments for us because he’s a special player, just the number of goals he has scored shows he’s something special.

“When he came on at Sunderland, there was suddenly a drive there and a focus to just do it.

“He comes on with that certainty and says, ‘OK, let’s deliver.’ He has that strength, which is based on desire and belief.

“He can do it again - especially on a territory where he will be highly ­motivated. He started his international career in Italy, so I believe that, if needed, he can help us."

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