Arsenal away form can win them Champions League

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Arsenal's win against Sunderland at the weekend was not just a showcase of new signing Mesut Ozil. It was also a further sign that Arsenal are no longer the pushovers they once were.

The 3-1 victory over a physical Black Cats side capped Arsenal's ninth successive away victory in all competitions.

Starting with an astonishing 2-0 away win to eventual German treble winners Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena, Arsenal have won every game away from home spanning a six month period.

More impressively, this run has seen them score 18 goals whilst conceding only three - of which two came from the penalty spot.

All of this adds up to a team that feels like they can win anywhere away from home.

Arsene Wenger confirmed as much in his pre-match press conference ahead Arsenal's Champions League opener against Marseille.

He told reporters: "Overall, I believe even last season we had a decent away record and from that moment you think, 'If we can go to Munich and win, why not anywhere else?'"

But how far can this newfound confidence take them in this season's Champions League? 

If they can repeat anything like the heroics they displayed in the Allianz Arena, we could see them go all the way.

The current team echoes the achievements of the 2005/06 squad, who made it all the way to the final before losing to Barcelona in Paris.

Arsenal's back four has something special. Although lacking in depth, the close knit relationship Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen obviously share shows they are willing to work for each other.

The partnership between Kolo Toure and Sol Campbell was crucial in Arsenal's run to the final, which saw them concede just two goals before meeting Barcelona in the final.

Impressively, neither of these two goals came in the knockout phases as Arsenal mustered up six consecutive clean sheets against Real Madrid, Juventus and Villarreal.

Mertersacker and Koscielny, who conceded just five goals in Arsenal's last 11 game last season, can repeat their heroics. 

With Wojciech Szczesny growing in stature, he can inspire the clean sheets away from home, as Jens Lehmann did, that virtually guarantee a win over two legs.

Up front, Arsenal's Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey have looked like a new players this season. Both have been influential in every Arsenal game so far and they can provide the creativity to score the vital goals in the knockout rounds.

Mesut Ozil will undoubtedly be the linchpin in the side, much like Thierry Henry was in 2006. Henry provided inspiration when a victory looked unlikely and Ozil is capable of conjuring some magic out of nowhere.

So out of the darkness, Arsenal have found some light. Their fragility away from home is in the distant past. If they can carry that form in to the Champions League, Arsenal fans could be seeing the biggest trophy in club football heading to the Emirates.

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UEFA Champions League
Laurent Koscielny
Per Mertesacker

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