Per Mertesacker: Gunners need fast start

Per Mertesacker Arsenal

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Arsenal’s German star Per Mertesacker has warned the Gunners they must not make the same mistake as last season and have a slow start to the Premier League if they are to challenge for the title.

Having returned to London following a successful trip to the Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore, where they beat Everton in Saturday’s final, and the Gunners will continue their pre-season campaign by hosting the Emirates Cup this weekend,

There is an air of confidence around the camp and, with veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech having quickly integrated himself into the squad since a £10million summer transfer from Chelsea, there is a growing belief there can now be a long-overdue sustained assault on the Premier League.

Mertesacker knows Arsene Wenger’s side cannot afford to make the slow start they did last season, which produced only two wins from the opening eight Premier League matches.

“We need to be at our best. We have shown in the (FA) 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,” he told Arsenal Player.

“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.”

Despite the renewed confidence in the Arsenal camp it is London rivals Chelsea who lead the betting and they are 2.50 to win the Premier League crown again.

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