Per Mertesacker has challenged his Arsenal teammates to show that they are Premier League title contenders from the opening day of the season.

The Gunners struggled for consistency during the first half of the last campaign before finishing 11 points behindchampions Chelsea.

However, they ended the season on a high by retaining the FA Cup with an emphatic win over Aston Villa.

Mertesacker now wants Arsenal to show that they are capable of maintaining a serious challenge across a number of fronts when the new campaign gets underway next month.

"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 the club's official website.

"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."

Arsenal are back in pre-season action this weekend when they host the annual Emirates Cup...


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