Former winner: Arsenal can claim Champions League this year

Aaron Ramsey

Fabio Capello believes Arsene Wenger and his Gunners are in the mix for European success.

Arsenal's near perfect start to the current campaign has not only delighted the club's boss Arsene Wenger, who hailed Jack Wilshere's opener versus Norwich City on Saturday as 'near perfection', but has also attracted the attention of Europe's managerial elite, who believe the Premier League representatives have the playing staff, style and confidence necessary to gun for the Champions League trophy.

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A former European Cup winner with AC Milan in 1994, Fabio Capello is well aware of what it takes to succeed at the upper echelons of UEFA soccer. With a 64% win record at Real Madrid only bettered by a 66% record with the English national football team and 69% with Juventus, Capello has achieved consistency regardless of the country, culture or competition he is in.

'Before the first round of Champions League games, I thought Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona,' he said, as reported by The Mirror, however, as competition - both domestically and on the continent - began, Capello began to favour another side: 'From England, I like Arsenal. To win the Champions League as a player or as a manager is a dream. It is the most important trophy for people working in football.'

Arsenal couldn't ask to be in a healthier position. They command top spot in the Premier League with a two-point cushion and have a handsome three point advantage over Napoli and Borussia Dortmund in Group F of the Champions League.

Arsene Wenger's side take on Dortmund on Tuesday, October 22 as the Bundesliga side travel to the Emirates Stadium ahead of the reverse fixture at Borussia's back-yard on November 6, however, what bodes well for the North Londoners is that, despite Dortmund's credentials as last season's finalists, it is Arsenal who have enjoyed the lion's share of possession in their European games thus far as well as completing a strong 86% of their passes.

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Dortmund, in contrast, are on the wrong end of the possession stats (46% in Champions League competition to date) while only completing 76% of their passes.

Should Arsenal maintain an unbeaten run that stretches as far back as the opening day of the season tomorrow evening, then they will punctuate Capello's statement, particularly when one considers the potential group of death murmurs that were made regarding the oppositional trident they were grouped with when the draw was made in Monaco earlier in the season.

Indeed, the club are on a confident high right now and in-form Aaron Ramsey - whose pirouetting performance against Norwich City was likened by Alan Hansen to Zinedine Zidane - is buzzing about the team's potential for Premier League success.

'That’s what we’ll be looking to do,' he is quoted to have said by The Mirror. 'We’re top of the league at the moment and that’s where we want to stay. One of the biggest things was to come through the start of the season. We’ve had to play catch-up in recent years and hopefully we can continue to build on this and stay strong until well after Christmas.'

image: © wonker

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