Slaven Bilic has warned Arsenal they are bang in the Irons sights even at this early stage.
Bilic will be in full control of the team tonight for their clash with Birkirkara tonight and reckons by the time the Premier League comes around the squad will have a superior fitness edge over the Gooners.
He reckons the extra games we are playing can give them a head start and a “definite advantage” on the opening PL weekend for the game on August 9.
Bilic said: “It’s good for the start, definitely. The best examples are from your own history – not from the books, the experience you have. I only have to look at last year when we played with Besiktas.
“We played Arsenal in the Champions League play-off. We were fitter than them. We had already played Feyenoord in the previous round and we were fitter. Arsenal had only played the Community Shield and Crystal Palace and we were already in the season.
“It gives you a definite advantage in the beginning of the season. What about November, December or Christmas time which is already so tough here. So we’re going to try be aware of all the situations.”
Arsenal managed to get through to the Champions League’s group stage, but beat Bilic’s Turkish side just 1-0 on aggregate over the two legs.