by Lewis Ambrose

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has emphasised how important it was to finish third rather than fourth last season as the club look to start the season strongly.

A year ago Arsenal knew they would have to win a play-off to qualify for the Champions League, which arguably damaged our start to the season. The pressure of a huge game and having two extra fixtures so early in the season cannot be helpful, even though the club have won all seven ties they have had to play at that stage of the Champions League in recent years.

Finishing third this season allows Arsenal slightly more rest ahead of European involvement  for the 2015/16 season, and Wilshere thinks that is vital as the Gunners aim to challenge for the title.

“Without a European qualifier so early in the season, which is almost a season definer, we’ve got more time to prepare for the first game in the Premier League and really concentrate on getting a good start,” said the Arsenal midfielder.

Wilshere was speaking to Sky Sports News HQ after the club unveiled a new gold and navy away kit in Singapore ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy game against Singapore Select XI takes place on Wednesday.

“We know by February, March we’re always strong so if we can get in a good position up to then we’ll be alright,” added the England international.

It has not been mentioned much as the season begins to approach but it is clear that not having to play the extra game – which possibly include a lot of travelling for the away leg – will have a huge positive influence. Some seasons have seen Arsenal start slowly in recent years but the added ‘rest’ could be a boost this time around.

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Usually found watching or talking about English or German football. Interested in tactics (but often despairing a lack of them). Favourite players: Bergkamp, Arteta, Özil