By Chris Harris
Ciara Grant believes Arsenal Ladies are ready to be crowned European champions - four years after the class of 2007 made history.
The Ireland international was among those bouncing up and down on the Boreham Wood pitch after Swedish giants Umea were seen off in the Final that year and she returns to Meadow Park on Thursday to face a lesser known side from the same Scandinavian country in the last eight of the Women’s Champions League.
Linkopings are something of an unknown quantity but Grant believes that Arsenal have the right blend of youth and experience to take them past their Swedish opponents and all the way to Craven Cottage, where this season's showpiece will be held in May.
"I think we can win it," Grant told Arsenal.com. "I would never say never. I think we're strong enough, we've got a good side, and as long as we play to our potential I think we can go all the way.
"We've got experience, we've got a lot of players who did play in 2007 so we know these players can step up in big games, they know what it's like to play in massive, major games. We've had some youngsters come through from the academy, we've signed some new young players too and it's their first season in the Champions League so I'm sure they want to go further and win things.
"We haven't seen them [Linkopings] play but just from looking on their website I know they have a lot of Swedish internationals.
"Obviously they have to be very good if they are still in the Champions League and Swedish football is professional so the players are of a decent standard. But just as long as we play the way we can play I think we'll be OK."
You can watch the full interview with Ciara by clicking on the PLAY button above. She discusses:
- playing big games again
- how they have coped with such a long break
- the dramatic win over Rayo Vallecano
- Gilly Flaherty's suspension
- taking another step up
- the threat Linkopings will pose
- playing the first leg at home this time
- the return of Katie Chapman
- their blend of youth and experience
Click on the PLAY button above to watch this FREE clip.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 16 Mar 2011