Mikel Arteta said the dream of Arsenal winning the club’s first ever Champions League at Wembley is in his players’ minds as they make a long-awaited return to the knockout stages at Porto on Wednesday.

The Gunners have not reached the last 16 of the Champions League for seven years and last made it to the quarter-finals back in 2010.

However, they are in supreme form having smashed 21 goals in five Premier League wins since returning from a two-week winter break last month.

And there is the extra carrot for Champions League success this season with the final taking place in their home city of London at Wembley.

“It would be incredible to have that feeling to lift that cup in London on the 1st of June,” Arteta told his pre-match press conference in northern Portugal.

“It’s there, it’s in our minds, and it’s a dream but it’s a lot of things that you have to earn the right before that, and tomorrow we’re going to have a big obstacle ahead of us.”

Arteta’s squad is short on Champions League experience, but the Spaniard said they have the belief that they can mix it with Europe’s best.

“It’s great we have earned the right to be here. It’s been seven years since we’ve been at this table for this kind of match and 14 years since we’ve been able to go to the next stage,” added Arteta.

“That’s the challenge, that’s what is ahead of us and we are really excited to face it, and to go for it with full belief.

“It’s true we don’t have the experience, that’s the reality – 95 percent of the players have not played in this competition (before this season).

“They have never played in the last 16, I haven’t (as a coach), but we have so much enthusiasm and energy as well, and willingness with a point to prove that we are good enough and want to be there.

“That’s our desire and the passion with which we’re going to play the game tomorrow.”