- Premier League
Cesc backs Arsenal credentials - but won't be returning
Former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas is adamant his old club can challenge for the Premier League title this season.
Fabregas, now at Barcelona, has also insisted he is happy to fight for his place at the Catalan club - after rumours about his future emerged following a start to the season which has seen him frequently substituted.
The Gunners continued a promising start to the new campaign with a 6-1 demolition of Southampton on Saturday, and Fabregas is confident Arsene Wenger's new-look side can keep pace with the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United.
"Arsene Wenger is amazing and I'm sure he will prove it again this season," Fabregas told the Sun. "He always finds the best young talent in Europe and has the courage to bring them in and give them their chance.
"That is his special talent, the way he works with a player to build their confidence and encourage them to play, to perform at their best.
"That's why I'm confident that Arsenal will again be up there challenging."
As for his current fight for a first-team place at the Nou Camp, Fabregas accepts that he has to prove his worth at the club week-in, week-out, if he is to remain key to Tito Vilanova's plans.
"I said when I signed here that it was going to be the most exciting and difficult challenge of my life," he said. "I knew I was coming here to compete for a place against the best players in the world.
"But I like big challenges. If I didn't, I would have stayed at Arsenal where I was the captain, where I played every game and where I was treated so well.
"I would never have taken the big step and the huge risk to sign for Barca and fight with the best players in the world for a place in the team - especially as there were never any guarantees given that I would play.
"I have a big heart, I have a strong character and I have the courage to carry on competing for my place. It's a challenge I always wanted and it's just as hard as I expected, mainly because I am impatient to succeed.
"Both teams play similar football. But at Barcelona they have taught me if I stay in my position the ball will come to me and I will see far more of it than if I go looking for it.
"It has been a big change but I'm learning very fast now and my team-mates have been amazingly supportive. I know that I can succeed here."