Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger claims Premier League is still strongest in Europe
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the Premier League remains Europe's top domestic competition.
Last Updated: 23/11/12 7:47am
The Gunners reached the last 16 of the Champions League for a 13th successive season after beating Montpellier on Wednesday night and join Manchester United in the knockout stages.
But holders Chelsea are on the brink of an early exit while Premier League champions Manchester City have been eliminated with a game remaining.
Wenger believes standards are on the rise around Europe but insists that England remains the place to be.
"I would still say England is the strongest, because in England if they want a player, they still get him," said Wenger. "As long as that happens 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."
Only Real Madrid, with 16 consecutive years, can better the Gunners' European run of progression from the opening group phase but Wenger admits it is getting tougher.
"Maybe we have less room, less margin than we had before when it was just a question of when we would qualify," he added.
"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 has 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."
Arsenal head to Aston Villa on Saturday with Wenger confident his team are now back to their best after their surprise defeat at Norwich last month.
"I hope we are over it. It is only coming with results," he said. "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."