Wenger - this can be our season
Arsene Wenger has urged Arsenal players and fans alike to keep the faith his young side can finally deliver this season.
The Gunners open their quest for a first Premier League title since 2004 at Liverpool on Sunday, where they are likely to be without World Cup final duo Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie.
Since his 'Invincibles' team, led by midfield enforcer Patrick Vieira, swept all before them, Arsenal have failed to turn their undoubted potential into silverware.
However, as he enters what could be his last season in charge at the Emirates Stadium, the French coach, out of contract in the summer, maintains the current crop have what it takes to get ahead of Chelsea and Manchester United.
"I believe we have a good chance. The most important thing is that we have that belief," Wenger said.
"We finished third last season, so we have two stairs to climb and I am confident that we can do it."
Despite all of the speculation surrounding the future of captain Fabregas, Arsenal managed to maintain a decent pre-season build-up which ended with a thrilling 6-5 victory at Legia Warsaw.
However, neither of the Gunners' two main men have been in action, missing both the training camp in Austria as well as the successful Emirates Cup tournament.
This week's international schedule has hardly helped matters in terms of recovery and preparation, with Fabregas having to travel to Mexico, although Van Persie will not be involved for Holland against Ukraine.
Wenger will leave it as late as possible before deciding whether he has to simply rule the pair out of the Anfield trip.
"They are a lot behind," Wenger said on arsenal.com.
"Cesc goes to Mexico so he will not be able to practise, and comes back on Thursday night or Friday, so we will have to see.
"I hope Van Persie will have a good week of preparation, but I think he will be short as well."
Andrey Arshavin is expected to shrug off a minor muscular problem in time to play at Anfield, where he scored all of Arsenal's goals in the 4-4 draw during April 2009 and netted again in last season's 2-1 away victory over the Reds.
Wenger will also be keeping a keen eye on his England trio, with Theo Walcott, who had an injury-plagued campaign in 2009-10, Kieran Gibbs and 18-year-old Jack Wilshere all in line to feature against Hungary at Wembley on Wednesday night.
The Gunners boss hopes to further strengthen his squad before the September 1 deadline.
Manuel Almunia's position as number one is under threat, with Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina, Manchester City's Shay Given and young England stopper Joe Hart all said to be on Wenger's radar.
Arsenal are also in need of reinforcements at the back.
Bosnia captain Emir Spahic, Stuttgart defender Serdar Tasci, Everton's Phil Jagielka and Germany international Per Mertesacker are all reported targets for the Gunners.