The Arsenal vice-captain Per Mertesacker believes that his team can win the title next year but for that, the team needs to hit the ground running immediately. The Gunners have begun their pre-season campaign in Singapore where they won the Barclays Asia Trophy by beating Everton in the final. Next up for Arsene Wenger and his squad is the Emirates Cup this weekend in London.
The German international has seen Petr Cech arrive at the club in the only big transfer signing so far, but that hasn’t dampened the spirits at the club. On the contrary, Cech’s arrival has seen a growing belief among the players and the fans alike that Arsenal can now mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title.
Cech has integrated really well with the squad and even showcased in the pre-season tournament at Singapore what is in store. With his experience and skill, Cech will aid the Premier League challenge. But, for that to come to reality, Mertesacker knows that Arsenal cannot afford to make as bad a start as last season.
Arsene Wenger saw his side start slow and win only two of the opening eight Premier League matches. Though the side recovered later and finished the season strongly with a third place finish, a better start would have served them really well. And the German vice-captain knows very well that unless they start well, there’s no way they can add a Premier League title to their back-to-back FA Cup wins in the last couple of years.
“We have a good structure and a good base,” he said on Arsenal.com. “We’ll try to build on that. We have a good squad, we won’t lose key players, so that’s good consistency.
“The squad will be in a good mood and in good fitness. We have to be because there are plenty of competitors for the title.
“We need to be at our best. We’ve shown in the cup that we can be consistent for six games. We want to extend that and show that we are real title contenders from the start, not only in the second half of the season.
“We want to be ready right from the start and not getting as many injuries as last season would be lovely and good for us.
“The belief is still there – we always had a certain belief in ourselves – and to win trophies back to back is something special, but let’s add that little extra to be a competitor for the whole season.”
Mertesacker wants to show the title rivals that they are genuine contenders from the start and not just in the second half of the season. He thinks that the belief in the team is always there but it is all about taking it to the next level. And, he thinks that Wenger has assembled a squad that is now capable of going all the way against defending Champions Chelsea and the two Manchester rivals.
Arsenal start their season with the FA Community Shield at Wembley on August 2nd where they take on Chelsea. It would be a reunion of sorts for Cech against his old side but it would also be a chance for Wenger to start the season in signature style. That would serve as a precursor to the season opener against West Ham. Wenger would hate to see another slow start dampening his title charge for yet another year…