Mertesacker urges Arsenal to convert cup form into Premier League title challenge

Arsenal's Per Mertesacker celebrates after his team-mate Olivier Gioud scores his side's fourth goal

Arsenal's Per Mertesacker celebrates after his team-mate Olivier Gioud scores his side's fourth goal of the FA Cup final against Aston Villa - Credit: EMPICS Sport

Per Mertesacker has urged Arsenal to convert their FA Cup consistency into a sustained assault on the Premier League title during the coming season.

Mertesacker captained the Gunners to a second successive FA Cup triumph in May, but they were never in the running for the league crown after a sluggish start to last season, with just two wins from their first eight games.

And the German defender is well aware that he and his team-mates need to hit the ground running when their league campaign gets under way against West Ham in just over a fortnight’s time.

“We have shown in the cup that we can be consistent for six games,” said Mertesacker. “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.

“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.

“We have a good structure and a good base. We will try to build on that and we won’t lose key players, so that’s good consistency.

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“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.”

The Gunners, who eventually finished third in the table, made a successful start to their pre-season campaign by overcoming Everton 3-1 to lift the Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore.

Goals from Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil put Arsenal three up before Ross Barkley pulled a goal back for the Toffees, but it proved to be no more than a consolation.

Arsene Wenger’s side continue their build-up to the new season on home soil this weekend when they attempt to win the Emirates Cup for the first time since 2010.

Wolfsburg and Villarreal get the tournament under way on Saturday at 2pm before the Gunners take on Lyon (4.20pm). The following day, Villarreal face Lyon before Arsenal bring proceedings to a close against Wolfsburg.

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