Johan Djourou has said that last night's 5-1 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk proves that Arsenal are capable of making a serious challenge for the UEFA Champions League this season.
The north Londoners made light work of brushing aside the 2009 UEFA Cup winners at the Emirates Stadium after a fluid performance rounded off by two well-worked goals by Marouane Chamakh and Jack Wilshere. The Gunners started last year's Champions League campaign in a similarly positive fashion, topping their group and beating Porto in the second round before being knocked out by Barcelona.
The competition is the biggest piece of silverware that Wenger has failed to add to the Arsenal trophy cabinet since he arrived in 1996, with the Gunners coming closest four years ago when they were defeated by Barcelona in the final in Paris. However, with 14 goals in the bag, and a maximum nine points from three games in Europe so far this term, Djourou reckons the team are capable of reaching the final, which this year will take place at Wembley.
"I think the result shows that Arsenal is ready to go as far as possible in the Champions League," the defender said. "It's early but it shows people that we can do well in the competition. We are more or less qualified even though there are still three games left, but it's true that we are in good shape."
A solid performance between the posts meant Lukasz Fabianski was unlucky to leave the Emirates without a clean sheet last night. Only a well-placed half-volley from former Gunner Eduardo could beat the stopper, who quickly turned his attention to Sunday's match against Premier League rivals Manchester City - a game which the 'keeper believes Arsenal must win. "It's a massive game for us because we want to be in the title race," said the Pole. "We want to go there for sure to win the game. We have to win it."
Fabianski's future this summer had been in doubt after the club made an approach for Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. However, the 25-year-old stuck with the Londoners and has impressed since replacing No1 Manuel Almunia, who has been out with an elbow injury for the last three weeks.
Wenger is yet to reveal when Almunia will return to action and Fabianski admits his confidence is improving with every minute he turns out in a Gunners shirt. "I've had a small run of four matches now and I think I'm pretty confident on the pitch now," said Fabianski, who joined from Legia Warsaw in 2007. "I think it's always good for a 'keeper that he plays regularly and hopefully I can continue improving."