By Declan Taylor
Manuel Almunia believes the Gunners can win all the remaining games of what could become “Arsenal’s season”.
After losing five of their opening 14 Premier League fixtures this term, Arsène Wenger’s side have battled back to within striking distance of domestic and European silverware.
And after losing a string of first-team regulars to injury over the course of the season, Arsenal’s brightest stars are returning at the same time as their imperious form.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League Quarter-Final first-leg encounter with Villarreal, Almunia summed up the unbridled confidence currently swirling around Arsenal’s youthful squad.
"This season looks to be our season," the Spaniard declared.
"It looks to be the season for the young players to be man enough to face all the big competitions we have.
"Players like Alex Song, Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott - when these players are 100 per cent fit, they can be mentally prepared to be totally professional, and they have the potential to win trophies.
"We can win every single game and we are here to do it."
Of course, the Gunners do have some previous with tonight’s opponents.
In 2006, the pair contested the Champions League Semi Final and, after Kolo Toure’s first-leg goal, Jens Lehmann saved a late Juan Roman Riquelme penalty in the second leg to secure Arsenal’s place in the Final.
However, wholesale changes to both teams means that Almunia won’t be reading much into that aggregate result.
“We have good memories from Villarreal but every single time is different,” he said. “There have been a lot of changes on both sides.
“Tomorrow's game is going to be different but comparing our team between 2006 and now. I am very confident that the team is going to be very good and the performance will be brilliant.
“The good thing is that we have the second leg at the Emirates but we expect to have a good result tomorrow.”Copyright 2017 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