ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger maintains the Premier League is still Europe's top domestic competition.
The Gunners joined Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League after they beat Montpellier 2-0 at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
However, holders Chelsea - now under new interim manager Rafael Benitez - have seen qualification taken out of their hands after losing at Juventus, while English champions Manchester City failed to progress to the knockout stages for the second season running.
Elsewhere, both Germany and Spain have all of their representatives safely through. Wenger accepts the other leagues have raised standards in Europe, but insists England remains the place to be. "I would still say England is the strongest, because in England if they (clubs) want a player, they still get him," he said.
"As long as that happens you will be the most powerful in Europe."
Pressed on whether the Premier League topped La Liga, Wenger continued: "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 in each of the past 13 seasons.
However, Wenger is conscious of the improvements of other nations.
"Maybe we have less room, less margin than we had before when it was just a question of when we would qualify," he said.
"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."