Talk about the seven-year itch, for Arsenal fans it has been seven years of longing since they last played in the Champions League group stage.
Patience has been a virtue. Take the acrimony leading to the departure of Arsene Wenger, or the struggles under Unai Emery.
Yet now they are fourth favourites to win Europe’s biggest competition — according to some bookmakers — with a feel-good sense around these parts.
For Gabriel Jesus, who has scored 20 goals in 38 Champions League appearances, just the theme music being played by team-mates in the gym on Monday evoked memories of bunking off from school to watch Europe’s finest.
‘Some of them were joking in the gym, putting the music on,’ he said ahead of the match against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night. ‘A club like Arsenal cannot stay without playing in that competition, so everyone is very happy.
Gabriel Jesus has admitted he used to bunk off school just to watch Champions League games
He reevaled how excitement is building among Arsenal players ahead of their first Champions League game in seven years against PSV
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‘I remember the times I missed school to watch and my Mum (would be) crazy.
‘It starts from there, you know. It was different to hear the music, to see the best clubs. It is a different game, a different competition. The clubs have more quality, that makes this special.’
Having flourished in Europe while at Manchester City, Jesus knows how much this week means and is confident in his team’s chances of winning the tournament.
‘Of course (we believe we can win it),’ he said. ‘All the competitions, we go to win and the Champions League is the same.
Jesus has experience of playing in the competition with Man City and believes they can win it
‘If we think opposite, we are wrong because we are playing for Arsenal. We have to believe.’
For Mikel Arteta, their return caps off a journey from watching from the outside to being contenders, boosted by a winnable group also containing Lens and Sevilla.
‘Every time that I watched it and we weren’t there, I felt it,’ said the Arsenal manager.
‘You put pressure on yourself, you know? This club has to win the Champions League and when I have this job, I have the responsibility to try and bring the club to the biggest tournaments and then be fighting for them.
‘It was a process, but we are here and now we have to make the most of it.’