Unai Emery says Arsenal are bang on course to “do something important” this season.
The Gunners will be back in third spot if they win at Sheffield United tonight. Few outside the Emirates Stadium have them down as title contenders this term.
But victory at Bramall Lane would bring them to within a point of champions Manchester City .
And a draw would mean the Gunners will have lost just once in all competitions this term – at leaders Liverpool .
Arsenal are also making progress in the Europa League – Emery’s specialist competition – and host Vitoria Guimaraes on Thursday.
Emery is convinced his side is on the fast track to success and believes head of football Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu think so too.
He said: “I’m speaking every day with Raul, Edu and the players.
“And I really think our way is going right and working well. And really now I’m very happy at the club. I’m really happy with the players. The last two, three, four weeks, every player has been working very well.
“In this way we can be positive and we can think we are going to do something important this year.
“This is the way I want and I was speaking with Raul, he has the same idea when he is speaking with me.”
Emery now has options in every position after key men returned from injury.
Striker Alexandre Lacazette faces a fitness test on an ankle – but Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding are all available to bolster the defence. Emery has been able to promote young, energetic talent into his first-team pool.
Bukayo Saka, the 18-year-old forward, is the prime example and he should start in Sheffield.
Emery said: “Little by little we’re using the young players to achieve the performance, giving them confidence and experience in the matches.
“For example Bukayo Saka is improving, helping us and taking a good performance.
“I know he needs to take more steps ahead in his improvement. Other players are the same. “We are competitive at the moment.
“Being competitive we can then achieve a better way for how we can play. If we are competitive we can use different players in different moments – some with more skill, some with more capacity to do pressing and transition.
“We can use them if we, like a team, can feel strong in our mentality and being competitive and consistent each match and training.”