Manager Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal should take "massive satisfaction" in having reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for a 13th consecutive season - a record which their big-spending English rivals cannot match.
Only Real Madrid, with 16, can better the Gunners' European run of progression from the opening group phase, which was secured on Wednesday night with a 2-0 home win over Montpellier.
"If you look at how many teams have done that in Europe, you will find very few and that shows it is not easy," said Wenger. "It is a massive satisfaction because I am so many times with my back to the wall, accused of not spending fortunes."
Grabbing top spot in Group B from Schalke and with it seeding for the last 16 is by no means secure ahead of next month's trip to Olympiacos.
But Wenger will at least not have the concerns of new Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez in guaranteeing elite European football again in the new year, while Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City have failed to progress for the second season running.
The Frenchman said: "It is important as well to show that we can do it, with the way we do it, that is with the club in a good financial situation and with the players coming from our youth development. There are many different ways to be successful and I am very happy that our way is one of them."
Arsenal have struggled for consistency in the Barclays Premier League since the October international break, and are not among the favourites to win Europe's biggest club prize at Wembley in May.
However, last season Chelsea were in a similar position and yet went on to knock out Barcelona and claim the Champions League crown with a penalty shoot-out victory over Bayern Munich. Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny sees no reason why the Gunners should not believe they can emulate Chelsea's achievements.
"I hope we can do what they did last season, but do a little bit better in the Premier League as well - you only take part in competitions to win them," said the Poland international, just back in the side following an ankle injury.
"There are fantastic teams in Europe and ones probably more likely to win it than us, but I am in this competition to win it."