Arsene Wenger celebrates his 61st birthday today convinced that his young Arsenal squad stand on the verge of "something special".
The Gunners head to title rivals Manchester City on Sunday with confidence restored following the midweek 5-1 thrashing of Shakhtar Donetsk at the Emirates Stadium, which all but secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Nevertheless, Arsenal remain five points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea, to whom they lost at Stamford Bridge before the international break, and will face another stern test of their championship credentials against big-spending City.
Wenger used yesterday's Annual General Meeting of shareholders to reiterate his belief the squad are ready to deliver a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.
"We made it our aim to keep our group of players together because I feel they meet their needs here," he said.
"They know they are close to something special. They want to do it and that's the challenge we have in front of us."
Wenger, though, maintained he would look to bring in re-enforcement when the transfer window opens if he felt it necessary.
"We have still resources available to bring one or two players in if needed in January," he said.
"But you have seen when you look at the other clubs it's fragile everywhere and they are in a situation where the players want to be at the top level.
"We had some players going out in the summer and we have decided to give confidence to the young players at the club. Why? Because they have a special culture of playing the game and can integrate very quickly.
"We brought [Sebastien] Squillaci, [Laurent] Koscielny and [Marouane] Chamakh and all of them have integrated very well into the spirit of the squad. I think they will be great additions to the team.
"They are winners, they don't talk too much and they work very hard, so I believe in the transfer market we have done quite well."
Centre-half Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) remains out, but full-back Bacary Sagna (thigh) will return to the squad, and Laurent Koscielny (back) has an outside chance to be included.
However, goalkeeper Manuel Almunia (elbow) will not yet be available.
England forward Theo Walcott hopes for more action following a 20-minute cameo in midweek and Nicklas Bendtner is also keen to gain match sharpness after he recovered from a groin problem which sidelined the Denmark striker since the World Cup.
Bendtner, who made a late substitute's appearance in the 2-0 win over Birmingham last weekend, said: "Obviously the final little bit of sharpness you can only get in games, but apart from that I feel strong - and all that I have done physically, the running and everything, is so much sharper.
"I would say I am in the best physical shape ever.
"It is definitely my intention to come back very strongly and show everyone what they have been missing."
Arsenal youngster Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, meanwhile, could join npower Championship leaders QPR on loan.Reuse content